Vulnerable Islanders and their carers are being encouraged to take up their FREE flu vaccination to help protect themselves and their loved ones against flu.
Flu is highly infectious and spreads easily from person to person, and doesn’t always require someone to have flu-like symptoms to be able to transfer the virus. It can be particularly dangerous for people who are already in hospitals and other care settings who are much more vulnerable to infection.
Other groups at risk include:
• Those aged 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 asthma, COPD, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, liver and kidney disease)
• Those with lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
• Anyone living in a residential or nursing home
• Those who have had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or have a neurological condition, eg multiple sclerosis (MS),
• Anyone seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above).
Public Health England has already warned the NHS to brace itself for flu following what has been reported as the worst flu outbreak in a decade in Australia and New Zealand where many, normally healthy people, have fallen susceptible to the strain of the virus.
This year, the flu vaccination is being made available free of charge to more people than ever – around 21 million people in total and that includes carers in residential and nursing homes, domiciliary care staff and those caring in an unpaid capacity for those with learning disabilities or other vulnerable relatives to help prevent the spread of flu.
Steve Parker, Interim Medical Director at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust said:
“For someone with a long-term health condition like asthma or COPD, flu has the potential to turn very serious. We want as many eligible people as possible to get their free vaccination, as it is the best way to protect everyone from flu.
“Your community pharmacist and GP surgeries are both able to administer the vaccination and if you are a paid carer, I would encourage you to talk to your managers first to see if they have any specific arrangements in place to help you with your free vaccination.
“At a time of year when NHS services are already facing the most pressures, it’s really important for everyone to try and prevent the spread of flu so that hospital services remain available for those who really need them.”
For anyone not entitled to a free flu jab, local pharmacies or the Occupational Health Commercial team at St Mary’s Hospital offer a paid-for service.
Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more details on how to help you and your family to stay well this winter.