Get a free flu jab - it may save someone's life
PUBLISHED: 12:03 31 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:03 31 October 2017
A health campaign urging people to get their free flu jab has been launched in North Somerset in an effort to stop largely preventable deaths occurring.
Free vaccines are available to toddlers, the elderly and professionals who may otherwise risk spreading the illness.
Dr Mary Backhouse, a Nailsea GP and chairman of North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), rolled up her sleeve and received hers on Monday.
She said: “If you are eligible for the flu jab it is important you get it; to get vaccinated takes a matter of minutes and it could save someone’s life.”
While many people contract the winter flu and suffer no major complications, for others it can be far more serious.
It is highly infectious and can cause a multitude of problems ranging from minor irritants such as headaches and tiredness, through to worse symptoms including joint pain, fever and chills. For the most vulnerable, the CCG says it can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability and even death.
GPs offer the free vaccination in nasal spray form to children aged two or three, and jabs to adults over the age of 65, pregnant women and people living with long-term conditions which would make them susceptible of contracting flu. Anyone working in adult social care, social services or education is also eligible.
Natalie Field, director of North Somerset public health, said: “Flu is highly contagious, and largely preventable.
“We can carry and pass on the virus without showing symptoms, so the best way for care staff to protect themselves and the people they help is to get vaccinated.
“For most of us flu can knock us off our feet and make us feel unwell but we can get over it and recover. However, for vulnerable people at home, in hospital or a home care it can cause serious illness or be fatal.
“Having a flu jab is the single best way to protect against catching or spreading flu.
“This not only helps to protect staff and their immediate families, but also helps to protect our vulnerable residents.”
All those considered at risk should have received a letter inviting them for a jab which can be received at a GP surgery or some local pharmacies. Eligible people who have not been contacted should call their GP to arrange an appointment.