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It’s not too late to vaccinate: health chiefs across Shropshire urge people to take up their flu vaccine
Those eligible for a free flu vaccine include:
- Older people aged 65 and over
- Children aged 2 and 3 years
- Children in reception class and school years 1 to 4 (ie born between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2013)
- People with long term conditions – such as like COPD; bronchitis, emphysema; diabetes; heart, kidney or liver disease or have suffered a stroke
- Pregnant women
- Carers – whether caring in an unpaid or paid role.
Those who work with vulnerable people, whether you work in a social care and health setting or another organisation, are strongly encouraged to take up their flu vaccination. Not only will this help prevent staff from catching flu, but also protect those most vulnerable who can be particularly at risk of the serious complications of the virus.
Why is it important to have a flu jab?
Flu symptoms can appear suddenly and severely, causing fever, chills, headaches and sore muscles. The vaccination is the best protection available to help prevent the spread of seasonal flu, which can lead to unpleasant illness. This can have particularly severe effects for older people and those with underlying health conditions and can prove fatal.
I’m not eligible for a free flu vaccine, but can I have it anyway?
Yes anyone can have the flu vaccine, especially if you’re in contact with many people throughout the day.
Where can I get my flu jab?
You can get your flu vaccination from your GP or from some community pharmacies.
Here is a list of pharmacies in Shropshire who are offering the flu vaccine.
Dr Irfan Ghani, Shropshire Council’s public health consultant, said:
“As anticipated at this time of year, we are seeing more people being admitted to hospitals with the flu as well as an increase in people visiting GPs with flu symptoms.
“It is really important for those who are eligible for a free flu vaccination to take up this offer.
“The vaccine is the best defence we have against the spread of flu, and it isn’t too late to get vaccinated.”
Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.
Flu is very infectious and spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours. To reduce the risk of spreading flu:
- Use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
- Bin used tissues as quickly as possible
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap
- Frequently clean regularly used surfaces to stop the spread of flu
- Avoid having unnecessary contact with other people if you or they have symptoms of flu.
I won’t get flu because I’m healthy and fit
One of the many common myths around flu! The fact is anyone and everyone can pick up the flu virus – healthy people included. And you can pass flu on to those who are at risk of developing serious illness. Some more myths and facts on flu can be found here.
Dr Julian Povey, Chair of Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“I would urge people in at risk groups in Shropshire to protect themselves with the flu vaccination without delay. The symptoms of flu include fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat.
“The vaccination is free for people aged 65 and over, children aged 2-3, pregnant women, carers (paid or unpaid) and those with long term health conditions. Patients in these at risk categories are able to get the vaccination free of charge from their GP and at some pharmacies.”
More information about flu and how to stay well this winter can be found on the council’s stay safe and well website here: https://shropshire.gov.uk/stay-safe-and-well-this-winter/.
Public Health England publishes a weekly national influenza report detailing a number of indicators (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/weekly-national-flu-reports)
The latest Public Health England (PHE) statistics show that seasonal flu levels have continued to increase in the last week across the UK.
The statistics show over the last week there has been a 78% increase in the GP consultation rate with flu like illness, a 50% increase in the flu hospitalisation rate, and a 65% increase in the flu intensive care admission rate. The main strains circulating continue to be flu A(H3N2), A(H1N1) and Flu B.