People in Tower Hamlets who are most vulnerable to flu are being urged to protect themselves and their family this winter by having the flu vaccination.
Flu is a highly contagious viral infection that anyone can catch, and it can be very serious for some. It is most common over the winter period.
Across England last winter (2018/19) 5,505 people were hospitalised and there were 1,692 deaths associated with flu. In Tower Hamlets, 70 per cent of over 65s had their free vaccination.
Getting the flu jab or nasal spray is one of the most effective ways to reduce potential harm from the seasonal flu virus.
The vaccination is offered free by GPs, local pharmacies and midwifery services to those at increased risk from the effects of flu.
- Parents of children aged two and three can ask their GP.
- Children in reception class and school years one to five are eligible and many schools will be holding vaccination sessions.
- People aged 65 and over can ask their GP or visit a local pharmacy.
- Pregnant women can ask their midwifery service or GP.
- People with long-term health conditions such as a heart, lung, kidney or liver disease can ask their GP or visit a local pharmacy.
- Carers of older or disabled people can ask their GP or visit a local pharmacy.
- Frontline health and social care workers can ask their GP or visit a local pharmacy.
You can find a participating local pharmacy here: https://www.londonflu.co.uk/
Sir Sam Everington, a local GP and chair of Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s vitally important that if you are eligible for the free vaccine, you take up the offer.
“Flu has the potential to be really serious – causing complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia for those with underlying health conditions, and in some cases it can be fatal, that’s why it’s so important that people in the high risk groups make an appointment with their GP to get their flu jab.
“The vaccine is updated every year to combat the latest strains of the flu virus so if you are in a high risk group and had the jab last year, you will need another one this year.
“As well as getting the vaccine, practising good hand hygiene by catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throwing it away and washing your hands after can help limit its spread.”
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The NHS is once again offering a free flu jab service to stop people getting unnecessarily ill over the winter months. Preventing flu also helps reduce the strain on health services and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get their free jab.”
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Notes to editors
Information on the flu jab can be found here http://www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine
You can have your NHS flu vaccine at:
- your GP surgery
- a local pharmacy offering the service. You can find a local pharmacy here: https://www.londonflu.co.uk/
- if you are pregnant you can ask your midwife
It is really important that people at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu take up the offer of the free vaccine.
- People with respiratory diseases such as COPD, emphysema or asthma are seven times more likely to die if they catch flu compared to those that don’t, and people with cardiovascular problems such as chronic heart disease or angina, or those who have had a stroke, are 11 times more likely.
- Vaccinating children not only helps to prevent them from getting the virus, it also prevents the spread of flu within your family and community. For healthy children aged between two and nine, the flu vaccine will usually be given in the form of a nasal spray, administered by a health professional. Parents and guardians are encouraged to tick the flu box on the school vaccination consent form.
- People with elderly and vulnerable members of their family and neighbours are encouraged to remind them the importance of getting their flu vaccination.
- If you are a frontline worker make sure you attend any workplace session or just present your work ID badge at a participating pharmacy stating your eligibility - (see eligible role list here https://www.londonflu.co.uk/)
- People who are not in the above groups, and therefore not eligible for the free NHS flu vaccination, are still strongly recommended to make their own arrangements to have the flu jab as the virus can be serious for anyone who catches it. Vaccinations are available for a small charge at many local pharmacies.
- If you think you have flu, stay at home to prevent it spreading and rest until you feel better. Call NHS 111 if you have an underlying health condition or feel really unwell.
- NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) commissions most local health services, from cancer care to mental health, hospital operations to prescriptions. All GP practices in the borough are part of this CCG. The CCG has a board, which meets regularly, and is chaired by a local GP.
- More information about NHS Tower Hamlets CCG can be found here
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