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Those eligible for free winter flu vaccination urged to protect themselves

Those eligible for free winter flu vaccination urged to protect themselves

Just under half of people in an ‘at risk’ medical group failed to take up their free flu vaccination last year across the Bradford district and they are being urged to make sure they have their vaccination from their GP.

Bradford Council’s Public Health department and city and district’s CCGs are advising people who have been invited to have a flu vaccination that it is an important part of staying well this winter.

People in the clinical at risk groups are 11 times more likely to experience complications if they get the flu; yet last year around half of all under 65-year-olds didn’t their vaccination.

This includes adults and children suffering from heart, liver, kidney or lung disease, diabetes, stroke or a lowered immune system.

For most healthy people not in at risk groups, flu remains a mild illness that can be treated using over-the-counter remedies such as paracetamol. For those with certain medical conditions it can lead to serious medical complications that could even result in death.

Dr Louise Clarke, the district’s clinical lead for children and young people, said: “While flu is an unpleasant illness for all who get it, it poses a real threat to the most vulnerable in society – small children, the elderly, those with long-term health problems and for pregnant women.

“Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from catching flu. I strongly urge anyone who is eligible for a free flu jab who hasn’t already made an appointment with their GP or nurse to do so as soon as possible to ensure they are protected.

“Children suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles. Some children may develop complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia and painful middle ear infection which may need hospital treatment.”

Philip Hargreaves, Health Protection Manager for Bradford Council said: “Flu isn’t just a cold; it can be very serious and can lead to serious complications that can be fatal for those in at-risk groups.”

“If you’ve received a letter telling you that you are entitled to the vaccination, it is because you need it to stay healthy over the winter. You wouldn’t fail to pick up a prescription if you were told to by your doctor, and this should be no different.”

“Even if you feel healthy now, the reason you’ve been sent a letter is because your condition makes it harder for your body to fight a flu infection so that a stay in hospital is more likely.”

“It only takes a couple of minutes to have a quick and relatively painless injection that not only protects you, but other people who might be at risk for the flu. There’s no advantage in putting it off until later in the year. ”

Those in at risk groups can also get their free flu vaccination from selected local pharmacies if they are registered with a GP. Anyone not in at risk group can also get the injection, although a charge will apply.

Those Eligible for the Flu vaccinations:

  • everyone aged 65 years or over

  • all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy

  • All those aged two, three and four years old on 31st August 2015

  • All children in school years 1 and 2

  • a weakened immune system due to disease or treatment

  • everyone living in a residential or nursing home

  • everyone who cares for an older or disabled person

  • all frontline health and social care workers

  • Everyone under 65 years who has a serious medical conditions, including children and babies over six months of age: chronic respiratory disease, heart disease, kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5, liver disease, splenic dysfunction, neurological disease or diabetes

The list above is not exhaustive and decisions should be based on a practitioner’s clinical judgement.

For advice and information about the flu vaccination, speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist.

For more information on seasonal flu or vaccinations visit NHS Choices:

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