Thousands of people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being urged to get their flu vaccination, which could be a life-saver.
If you have a long-term health condition that puts you more at risk from flu or are in one of the other priority groups you should not delay getting your vaccine – book your appointment today.
People aged 50-64 are also being offered the vaccine by their GP and at community pharmacies for the first time, with appointments available throughout December and January.
Dr Shammy Noor, a GP in Lichfield and chair of South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG: “We are particularly concerned about lower take-up in eligible patients from BAME communities and from pregnant women. Flu is an unpredictable, highly infectious disease which can produce fever, chills, aches and pains, muscle aches and in very bad cases especially in certain individuals it can be fatal.”
In the biggest flu programme ever, GP surgeries, health visitors, pharmacists and other health professionals have already delivered hundreds of thousands of flu vaccines at socially distanced flu clinics. If you are entitled to a free flu vaccine this year and haven’t received this yet, please get it done now.
Healthy people usually recover from flu within two to seven days. But for others flu can have much more serious complications. This is why the NHS gives free flu vaccinations to:
• All children in school years 1-7
• Pregnant women
• Those aged 65 years and over
• People with long-term health conditions
• Those who shielded from Coronavirus and members of their household
• Health & care staff, employed by a registered residential/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza
Stoke GP and clinical chair of Stoke-on-Trent CCG, Dr Lorna Clarson, said: “Having flu is much worse than having a heavy cold and it can be fatal, particularly to the more vulnerable members of society such as older people and people who have long-term conditions.”
Dr Paddy Hannigan, GP in Stafford and chair of Stafford and Surrounds CCG, said: “Vaccination is the best defence against the virus that causes flu infections”. “The virus changes every year, so the vaccine needs to be given each year, we would also urge all expectant mums to get their flu vaccination to safeguard their own health and that of their baby”
This year those going for vaccination can help by arriving at the right time for their appointment, not too early and not too late. Wearing short sleeves will also help keep the flu clinics moving whilst following social distancing advice.
This year, early demand for flu vaccine has been higher than usual. This has meant that some GP practices and pharmacies have used their early supplies of flu vaccine, due to the level of demand. More information on why you might have to wait for your flu vaccine can be found here.