GPs urge the most vulnerable to protect themselves from flu this winter and accept invitation for vaccine when contacted
Local GPs are encouraging local people over the age of 65 and those under this age who are in a clinical at-risk group to accept invitations to receive their free NHS flu vaccine to help protect them from flu and its potentially serious complications – especially given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
GP practices will be contacting the most vulnerable people in the highest risk groups first as a priority, please be patient if you have not been contacted yet as the vaccine is delivered in phases. If you are contacted by your GP practice it’s important you respond so you can be allocated a suitable time for your vaccination and you are protected as early as possible. You can also have your vaccination at your local community pharmacy if this is more convenient.
People in the 50-64-year old age group who are not in the ‘at-risk’ groups will not be vaccinated until November and December, providing there is sufficient vaccine and no appointments will be offered for this age group until then. This is to ensure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated first. If you are 50-64 and you are in one of the other groups which is eligible for the flu vaccination, for example you have a health condition which puts you at risk from the flu, you will be invited earlier.
If you are not in a high-risk group please do not call your practice to request a flu vaccination to allow GP practices and pharmacies to focus on their work to get the most vulnerable groups in our community vaccinated first.
Dr Sunil Gupta, local GP and Chair of NHS Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Flu can lead to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia and the flu vaccine will also help prevent it spreading to other family members. The flu virus changes each year, and with the additional complications COVID-19 has brought I’d urge the most vulnerable to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others against the latest strain when the time comes.”
Krishna Ramkhelawon, Director of Public Health, Southend Borough Council, said:
“This winter we will face a real challenge in helping people keep well with the continued coronavirus pandemic and the low take up of flu jabs across Southend in previous years. We are engaging local residents to look at better ways to increase this year’s local flu vaccination programme and ensuring their safety during this pandemic period. For your own protection, our wider community and to protect our local NHS services, please take up your invitation for your flu vaccine as soon as you are advised.”
To understand more what can be done differently to make sure those most at risk are protected this winter about The Clinical Commissioning Group is running an online survey. Please visit your local CCG website or check local CCG social media accounts for more information.
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The flu vaccine is routinely given on the NHS to:
- Adults age 65 and over
- People with long term health conditions including: chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma (that requires an inhaled or tablet steroid treatment, or has led to hospital admission in the past), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis, chronic heart disease, such as heart failure, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis, chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy, diabetes, problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy, being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
- All pregnant women
- All children aged two to 11 years via nasal spray vaccine
- Household contacts of those on the NHS shielded patient list or of immunocompromised individuals
- People living in long stay residential care home or facility
- Those in receipt of carers allowance
- Health and social care staff including all care homes, hospices/ employed directly through direct payments (personal health budgets etc).
See this leaflet for more information about who is eligible or for more information about the flu vaccination visit the NHS website.
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