GPs in Calderdale are urging those most vulnerable to flu to get their free vaccination ahead of the winter period when the virus is most common.
Flu is easy to catch and pass to others, and can lead to serious complications in people with long-term health conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema, diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease or in those that have suffered a stroke.
Those who are most vulnerable are eligible for a free flu vaccine, including:
- Adults over 65
- Pregnant women
- Children aged 2 and 3, as well as pupils in reception class and school years 1 to 4
- People with long-term health conditions, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), chronic asthma and cardiovascular issues
Another way of protecting vulnerable adults is to vaccinate children, who can spread the virus easily around their families and friends. For healthy children aged 2 and 3 the flu vaccine is in the form of a nasal spray, administered by a health professional.
Dr Caroline Taylor, a GP at Beechwood Medical Centre in Ovenden, said:
“Flu can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and it can be deadly for older and more vulnerable people, so it’s important that people with long-term conditions have a flu jab every year.
“If you’re over 65 years old, pregnant, or have a long term condition, speak to a GP, pharmacist or midwife about a free flu vaccination. These people really do need a flu jab: that’s why it’s free for them.”
Dr Majid Azeb, a GP at Southowram Surgery and Assistant Clinical Chair at NHS Calderdale CCG, said:
“One way we can help older and vulnerable people from getting the flu is by being vaccinated ourselves. By protecting yourself you can reduce the risk of passing flu on to people you care for.
“If you’re the main carer for an older person speak to your GP or pharmacist about having a flu jab at the same time as them.
“Aside from that flu is really unpleasant for anyone who catches it, and it’s a good idea for everyone who’s eligible to get vaccinated against the virus every year and to encourage others to do the same. And remember: the flu-jab can’t give you flu!”
Speak to your GP, pharmacist or midwife for information on the flu vaccine. You can also go to www.nhs.uk/staywell for more details on the flu vaccine and how to stay well over the winter months.