Santa took a break from grotto duties this week to pop into Prestwich Pharmacy to get his free flu jab, and make double sure he’s on top-form for the festive season.

As with all over 65s, Santa is eligible for a free flu vaccination, available from pharmacies or GP surgeries. This year there is a specific vaccination that has been developed especially for older people. Getting the vaccination is the best possible way for people to protect themselves and those around them.

The NHS is also providing free flu vaccinations for other at-risk groups such as pregnant women and people with long-term conditions. There is also a nasal spray, which works better for children, and is free of charge for children up to school year five.

Santa said: “With all of the world’s children relying on me, I couldn’t take the risk of getting flu at my busiest time of year. I’ve got grotto duties, supervising the elves and then I’ve got a fair bit to do on Christmas Eve!

“There’s no way I was going to risk getting flu and letting everyone down, so I popped in to see a local pharmacist who sorted my jab.”

He added: “I was a touch apprehensive but I barely felt a thing and I was back making wishes come true within a few minutes. I feel safe in the knowledge that I won’t be coming down with a nasty flu in the next couple of weeks.”

Philip Watts, local pharmacist at Prestwich Pharmacy said: “Flu is something to take very seriously, especially at this time of year when people are busy and have plans with the family. It’s much worse than a bad cold, and in some cases can lead to a stay in hospital. Getting flu would ruin anyone’s Christmas and I would strongly encourage those eligible for the free vaccination, or nasal spray, to contact their GP surgery or visit their local pharmacy to get their jab.

“So when the big man said he wanted to come to Prestwich Pharmacy to get his flu vaccination done we were pleased to have him here. He’s a very important guy and people rely on him. We were glad to have done our bit to ensure everyone has a Christmas cracker.”