Council encourages at risk groups to get flu vaccine

Date: 5/12/2016
Ref: PR 8420

Wakefield Council is urging those who fall into an 'at risk' group to get the free NHS flu vaccine this winter.

For most healthy people, flu is a very unpleasant disease and it generally takes at least a week to recover. However, for some, the disease can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.

The following people are at particular risk if they catch flu and are eligible for the free vaccine:

• Older people, aged over 65
• All children aged two, three and four years old, plus children in school years one, two and three
• Pregnant women
• Those with underlying disease, particularly heart disease, asthma and COPD
• Those who are immunosuppressed.

In the Wakefield district, 36% of those aged over 65 have not had their flu jab this winter and only 40% of pregnant women and those aged under 65 with particular medical conditions have been vaccinated.

Dr Andrew Furber, Director of Public Health for Wakefield Council, said: "Seasonal flu is highly contagious and easily preventable. There are still a lot of people in the district who have not had their free flu jab this winter, and it's not too late. Those who are at an increased risk, or those who care for someone vulnerable, are encouraged to make an appointment as soon as possible.

"You may think if you were vaccinated last year that you're covered, but you actually need a flu jab each winter to be protected. It can be passed from people who don't even have the symptoms. It is important for us to remain vigilant and take all the necessary precautions to protect those who are more vulnerable. Contact your GP surgery and make an appointment."

To help stop the spread of flu, people are advised to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing and to wash their hands regularly.

For further advice and information about the flu vaccination, people are advised to speak to their GP, practice nurse or pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flujab  

ENDS

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