Santa took a break from grotto duties this week to pop into Rowlands Pharmacy, Bolton to get his free flu jab, and make 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.
People with long-term health conditions, people with a BMI of 40+ and pregnant women are also eligible.
Children up to school year five can also have their vaccination free with a nasal spray at a GP surgery or through school.
Despite a busy schedule at Bolton Winter Festival, organised by Bolton Council, Santa put himself to the top of the list to protect himself and others.
He 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 let everyone down, so I popped in to see Matthew the pharmacist and he 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 the nasty flu virus in the next couple of weeks.”
Chairman of Bolton CCG, Wirin Bhatiani, said: “Getting flu is ‘snow’ joke, especially at this time of year when people are busy and have plans with the family - it’s so much worse than a bad cold. Getting it would absolutely ruin anyone’s Christmas and for certain people catching it can be really, really serious.
"We’ve done a big push in Bolton to encourage people to have their flu jab, and for families with two and three year olds we’ve introduced Flo the Flu Fairy to explain that the children’s vaccine is a nasal spray.
“Luckily, Santa saw our campaign and said he wanted to have his flu vaccination done in between his shifts at the grotto in the Albert Halls. We were pleased to help him out. He’s a very important guy and people rely on him.”
Bolton Council Executive Cabinet Member, Cllr Ann Cunliffe, said: “Staying fit and healthy during the festive period is vital, especially for those with important jobs to do over Christmas.
“It’s good to see Santa leading by example and I’m sure Bolton’s children are excited to visit his new grotto in the Albert Halls, one of the highlights of this year’s Winter Festival.”
As well as Santa’s Grotto, Bolton’s Winter Festival features a covered ice rink, a festive tipi bar, live reindeer and much more.
Visit www.boltonwinterfestival.com for more details or follow @BoltonWinterFestival on Facebook or @BoltonWinterFes on Twitter.