Free winter flu vaccines now available in Wakefield district
Cllr Faith Heptinstall gets her flu vaccination
Last year, less than half the number of preschool children in the Wakefield district had their flu vaccination. This year, parents are being urged to take their two and three-year-old children to their GP for their free flu vaccination. The vaccine is given as a nasal spray and is quick and painless.
The flu vaccination is also free for pregnant women, people over 65 years old, people with certain long-term illnesses, those in a long-stay residential care facility and carers.
Cllr Faith Heptinstall, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: "Getting vaccinated is really quick and easy and as the flu virus changes each year, you need a flu jab each winter to be protected. I'd encourage everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to ensure they receive it and protect those who are more vulnerable."
Anna Hartley, Wakefield district's Director of Public Health, said: "Seasonal flu is highly contagious and everyone is at risk of contracting the virus but some of us are more prone than others to getting the flu such as young, elderly, carers and people with long term illnesses.
"If you have a young child, have a health condition that increases your risk or if you care for someone vulnerable, please make an appointment with your GP practice or visit your local community pharmacy as soon as possible for the vaccine."
For most healthy people, flu is a very unpleasant disease and it generally takes at least a week to recover.
But for some, the disease can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or it can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.
Flu is a common illness amongst babies and children, the evidence shows that children under the age of five are more likely to be admitted to hospital with flu than any other age group.
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 flu vaccination leaflet.