Leading health figures from Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG are urging residents eligible for the flu jab to make sure they get protected.
Free flu vaccinations are available to all pregnant women, all children aged 2 to 4, children in years 1-3 at school and residents of all ages with a long-term health condition and everyone aged 65 and over.
Most people who are eligible can get vaccinated at their local GP practice and parents with children in years 1-3 will be asked for permission for them to receive the nasal spray vaccination at school.
While most people can recover from flu in about a week, each winter, tens of thousands of people in England end up in hospital because of flu with hundreds dying from a complication of seasonal flu.
This is because some people are at a much greater risk from the serious effects of flu, including pregnant women, the very young, people of any age with health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, weakened immune systems, and older people.
The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu and drastically reduces serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It is vital to spread this really important public health message to protect Sefton residents who are at greater risk of serious effects from flu.
“We want to make sure that everyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccine knows how to get it to make sure they are vaccinated throughout the winter months.”
Matt Ashton, Director of Public Health for Sefton and Knowsley, said: “I strongly recommend that all those who are eligible for a free vaccination make sure they get it in order to protect themselves from the adverse effects of flu. I will be having the vaccine again this year, and I am urging other people to do the same, to protect yourself, your families, and your community.
“There are still a lot of people who don’t take up the offer of their free annual flu jab because they don’t think they need one. Flu can be a really nasty illness, and can affect any one of us, no matter what our age or how fit and well we feel.”
The flu virus is very unpredictable and, some years, flu causes more sickness than others because new strains emerge and spread. This is why it is really important for people eligible for a free flu vaccination to get it every year.
Dr Andy Mimnagh, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, added: “Anyone of any age with an existing health condition, like asthma or diabetes should get vaccinated, even if they generally feel healthy and well. This is because a dose of flu can greatly worsen their condition and make complications like pneumonia more likely.”
Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Carers are also eligible for a free flu jab as well as those they look after.
“If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, or if you have any questions about getting vaccinated, simply contact your GP practice and ask for advice, we’ll be happy to help.”
You can find a wide range of information about the annual flu immunisation campaign at www.nhs.uk and if you have any queries about whether you or someone you care for should have the vaccine simply ask at your GP practice.
Matt Ashton, Director of Public Health for Sefton and Knowsley, proves he’s a #flufighter