Seasonal flu jab – have you had yours?
In response to the latest flu jab statistics, we are joining forces with the NHS to encourage those most at risk from flu to protect themselves and their families as a matter of priority with a free vaccination.
Full protection from the vaccine takes up to two weeks to develop so act now to get ‘flu safe’ and make sure that flu doesn’t ruin the holidays. Flu can knock even the healthiest people off their feet for a couple of weeks, but for some people it can be really serious – it can even be a killer.
Those at most risk include pregnant women, people living with a long-term health condition such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints, and those aged 65 and over. The flu jab is also available as a nasal spray for children aged two, three or four years to protect them against the virus.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Director of Public Health Dr Mark Pietroni said: “The latest statistics from Public Health England show that 24 per cent of children aged two to four years, 33 per cent of pregnant women, 40 per cent of those with long term health conditions, 61 per cent of over 65s and 41 per cent of carers have had the flu jab so far this winter. The take-up is encouraging but we would urge those at risk groups to come forward and take advantage of the free vaccine which has been widely available since the beginning of October.
“I really want to emphasize how serious flu can be. Not only can it stop you caring for your family and keep you off work, but in some cases it can lead to more serious illness and a spell in hospital.
“Full protection from the vaccine takes a couple of weeks to develop, so people really need to come forward now to make sure they can enjoy a happy, healthy Christmas.”
Public Health Consultant Sara Blackmore added: “In recent years, critical care units across the region have been busy with people who should have been vaccinated against flu but instead ended up so seriously ill over Christmas that they had to be ventilated as doctors battled to keep them alive. Most of these patients were young and middle aged adults with long term health conditions, as well as pregnant women, who should have been vaccinated.
“The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year. The flu jab is completely safe and doesn’t carry the live flu virus so it can’t give you flu.”
Contact your GP surgery now to arrange a convenient appointment and get your jab and/or a nasal spray for your child if aged two, three or four years. It’s quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.
For further information, including a list of South Gloucestershire pharmacies that are offering free flu vaccinations for the under 65’s at risk, pregnant women and carers, visit www.southglos.gov.uk/flu
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