Residents are being urged to take advantage of free flu vaccinations to protect against the potentially dangerous virus.
The Public Health England “Stay Well This Winter” campaign, launching on October 12, highlights the risks of contracting flu – and the easy steps people can take to protect themselves.
Free flu vaccinations are available across Hammersmith & Fulham for young children, residents aged over 65, pregnant women, carers and those with long-term illness. And there is no need for parents to worry as children receive their vaccination through a painless nasal spray.
“The “Stay Well For Winter” campaign is hugely important, and has the full backing of Hammersmith & Fulham Council”, said Cllr Vivienne Lukey, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care.
“We want to get the message out to parents of young children and residents at risk of suffering from flu complications, that a vaccination this winter should be a real priority. Vaccinations are free, widely available – and could potentially save lives.”
Dr Yvonne Doyle, London Regional Director at Public Health England, said: “People often think influenza is nothing more than a bad cold. But flu can kill. For most people it is an unpleasant illness, but for the most vulnerable – young children, elderly people, those with long term health conditions and pregnant women – it can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. Every year, influenza is a contributing factor in thousands of deaths.
“I urge everyone eligible for a free influenza vaccine on the NHS to take up the offer. I’d also ask health and social care professionals, families and carers to make sure the people they care for do get their vaccine. For some, it really will be a matter of life and death.
“Even if you had the influenza vaccine last year, you still need to have the jab this year. Influenza is an unpredictable virus and last year’s vaccine may not protect you against the strains circulating this year.”
An estimated 25,000 H&F residents could contract the virus this winter, with many experiencing the normal unpleasant symptoms of flu, such as fever, cough, headaches and joint pains. But for some at-risk residents, flu can lead to severe complications that may even be fatal.
“Despite the dangers of contracting flu, many of those residents eligible for a free vaccination don’t get one. That’s why we are urging all those eligible residents to get their vaccination, and to ensure that their younger children and older relatives get theirs too”, Cllr Lukey added.
Who should have the vaccination?
- Everyone aged 65 and over (this includes anybody that will be 65 and over on 31 March 2017)
- People aged aged six months – 65 with one of the following: heart problem, chest complaint or breathing difficulties including severe asthma, bronchitis or emphysema, liver disease, diabetes, kidney disease, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment, neurological condition
- All pregnant women
- School children in years one, two and three
- Two, three and four-year-old children
- Everyone living in a residential or nursing home
- Everyone who cares for an older or disabled person
- Household contacts of anyone who is immunocompromised
- All frontline health and social care workers
You can have your flu vaccination at:
- Your GP surgery – please contact your surgery to book an appointment or to find out if they run an open access flu clinic.
- A local pharmacy offering the service (only for eligible adults).
- For pregnant women, please contact your surgery to book an appointment or to find out if they run an open access flu clinic, however, your midwifery service may offer this to you
- For school children in years 1,2 and 3, your school will notify you if they are offering flu clinics.
It is best to get your flu vaccination as early as possible in the autumn, so contact your GP now to find out more about their flu clinic dates and get yourself and your loved ones protected this winter.