Council encourages at risk groups to get flu vaccine

09/10/2017, PR8665

Cllr Jones gets his flu vaccination
Cllr Jones gets his flu vaccination

As winter approaches, Wakefield Council is reminding residents to get the 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 school-aged children in reception class and school years one, two, three, and four
• Pregnant women
• Those with underlying disease, particularly heart disease, asthma and COPD
• Those seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
• Those whose immune system isn’t working properly
• Those living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
• Those caring for elderly or disabled people.

Seventy one per cent of over 65s in Wakefield heeded last year’s flu jab warning, but just 49% in the younger at-risk groups got their free jab.

Dr Andrew Furber, Director of Public Health for Wakefield Council, said: “Seasonal flu is highly contagious and easily preventable with a quick vaccine. It’s a common misconception that it is only older people who suffer the most when they get flu. Many children and adults under the age of 65 are putting themselves at just as much risk to the effects of the virus. Those who are at an increased risk, or those who care for someone vulnerable, are encouraged to make an appointment with their GP practice or visit their local community pharmacy as soon as possible.”

Cllr David Jones, Wakefield Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “Getting vaccinated is really quick and easy. 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.”

Dr Phil Earnshaw, Chair of NHS Wakefield CCG, said: “It is best to have the flu vaccination in the autumn before any outbreaks of flu.

“Even if you were vaccinated last year, you should be vaccinated again this season as strains of flu vary from year to year.”

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 read Public Health England’s 2016/17 flu vaccination leaflet.

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