Public Health England urges Worcestershire residents to take up the offer of the free flu vaccine

flujab Published Thursday, 12th October 2017

Public Health England and the NHS’s joint Stay Well This Winter campaign launches today in Worcestershire with the national flu vaccination programme now available nationwide to all eligible people.

Public Health England and the NHS’s joint Stay Well This Winter campaign launches today in Worcestershire with the national flu vaccination programme now available nationwide to all eligible people.

 

The Stay Well This Winter campaign will help the most vulnerable people in Worcestershire prepare for winter and avoid having to visit hospital due to common winter illnesses.

 

People in Worcestershire who are the most vulnerable to flu are being urged to get their free flu vaccination, ahead of the winter period when the virus is most common. The programme launches as the Chief Medical Officer has warned that flu, and complications associated with it, cause 8000 deaths on average a year in England.

 

This year’s campaign aims to continue to increase uptake of the flu vaccination. Last year, 40.2 % of children aged 2-4 years were vaccinated against flu. In addition, the vaccine was also administered to 53.4 % of people in at-risk groups, 47.2% of pregnant women and 72.7% of people aged 65 or older in Worcestershire.

 

The flu vaccination is offered to those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu. These include children aged 2-8, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with long term health conditions.

 

Cllr John Smith, OBE, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:: “More people are now eligible for the flu jab and their surgery should let them know when it is available. We do urge eligible people to take up this offer. Although it is not possible to know which strains of flu will circulate each winter, this vaccination is still the best protection against an unpredictable virus which can cause severe illness and deaths amongst vulnerable groups, including older people and those with a health condition, even one that is well managed.”

 

People with respiratory diseases like COPD, emphysema or asthma are seven times more likely to die if they catch flu, and people with cardiovascular problems like chronic heart disease or angina, or have had a stroke, are 11 times more likely compared to those who don’t. The risk is far worse for those with chronic liver disease, who are 48 times more likely to die if they get flu.

 

Another way of protecting vulnerable adults is to vaccinate children, who are ‘super-spreaders’ of the virus. Last year’s flu vaccination programme reduced the risk of flu in children who received the vaccine by 65%. For healthy children aged 2-8 in Worcestershire, the flu vaccine is given in the form of a nasal spray, administered by a health professional.

 

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer said: “Flu kills and we could save thousands of lives if everyone eligible got their free jab.

 

“With more people eligible than ever before and the vaccine available in more locations, people should protect themselves and those around them against this potentially deadly virus. Taking a few minutes to get the jab could save your life this winter.”

 

To get your vaccine or find out if you are eligible, contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife for more information. Visit nhs.uk/staywell for more details on how to help you and your family to stay well this winter.