As the winter season arrives, Burton and Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths has urged those in his constituency who are at risk of getting flu to get their flu vaccination.
Even though flu vaccination rates have climbed countrywide, they still remain lower than ideal in many areas. Andrew’s advice comes as the Chief Medical Officer warned last week that flu and its complications caused 8,000 deaths on average a year in England- around 6,000 of which are people with existing heart and lung conditions.
The national flu vaccination initiative marks the start of the Public Health England and NHS England’s joint Stay Well This Winter campaign, which works to ensure the most vulnerable people are prepared for winter and avoiding hospital visits due to common winter illnesses.
This year approximately 21 million people will be offered the vaccination. A £10 million programme will see a free vaccination offered to all care home workers via their GP or pharmacist to tackle the 16% increase in emergency flu and pneumonia hospital admissions from care homes last year alone. Also the plans see children in year 4 and children over 4 in their reception year offered the vaccine for the first time.
Andrew said: “More people than ever before are eligible for the free vaccination this year and it is vital that those individuals are taking the opportunity to protect themselves by having the flu vaccine. Speak to your GP or your pharmacist and make sure you get immunised! Getting the flu jab is easy and free for many, and offers the best chance of avoiding the flu. Flu is bad enough even for the fittest amongst us, but for older people and those with long-term conditions in particular it can cause serious health problems.”
NHS England’s National Medical Director for Acute Care, Professor Willett, said: “Hospitals and GPs are preparing intensively for this winter, and we would remind people of the importance of having a flu vaccination. Last year eight million people missed out and that is something we can all change.”
Be sure to check out more information on your eligibility for the flu jab, and other tips on staying healthy this winter, can be found at www.nhs.uk/staywell.