Public Health England and the NHS’s joint Stay Well This Winter campaign has launched, with the national flu vaccination programme now available nationwide to all eligible people.
The Stay Well This Winter campaign will help the most vulnerable people in Kirklees prepare for winter and avoid having to visit hospital due to common winter illnesses.
People in Kirklees who are the most vulnerable to flu are being urged to get their free flu vaccination, ahead of the winter period when the virus is most common.
The programme launches as the Chief Medical Officer has warned that flu, and complications associated with it, cause 8000 deaths on average a year in England.
Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, Kirklees Council said:
“I would encourage anyone who is at increased risk from the effects of flu to take advantage of this free vaccine. The free vaccine is available for children aged 2-8, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with long term health conditions.”
People with respiratory diseases like COPD, emphysema or asthma are seven times more likely to die if they catch flu, and people with cardiovascular problems like chronic heart disease or angina, or have had a stroke, are 11 times more likely compared to those who don’t. The risk is far worse for those with chronic liver disease, who are 48 times more likely to die if they get flu.
Dr Steve Ollerton local GP and Clinical Leader of NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
“The free flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu.”
Another way of protecting vulnerable adults is to vaccinate children, who are ‘superspreaders’ of the virus. Last year’s flu vaccination programme reduced the risk of flu in children who received the vaccine by 65%. For healthy children aged 2-8 in Kirklees the flu vaccine is given in the form of a nasal spray, administered by a health professional.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer said:
“Flu kills and we could save thousands of lives if everyone eligible got their free jab.
“With more people eligible than ever before and the vaccine available in more locations, people should protect themselves and those around them against this potentially deadly virus. Taking a few minutes to get the jab could save your life this winter.”
Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG, added:
“If you are eligible for the flu vaccine get it now – it’s free because you need it. Contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife to the get the flu jab.”
Visit https://www.nhs.uk/staywell for more details on how to help you and your family to stay well this winter.