The annual fight against flu is underway and people in Wokingham are encouraged to get a vaccination against the virus.
This is part of a major drive to help people stay well this winter by Wokingham Clinical Commisioning Group, Wokingham District Council and partners, who will be issuing tips and advice to ensure people, especially at risk groups, understand the complications of flu and the consequences of not getting their flu jab.
Parents with children, aged two to six, are also urged to ensure their child is vaccinated. This year the programme is being extended to children in years 1 and 2. For the first time, all our youngest primary school children will be eligible to receive the free nasal spray vaccine, making this the largest school-based vaccination programme in England involving children in 17,000 schools nationally. For those children in areas where the vaccination is not offered through schools, they will be offered the vaccination at their local GP or pharmacy.
As in previous years, the adult flu vaccine will also be offered for free to those in groups at particular risk of infection and complications from flu. The groups being offered the adult flu vaccine are:
- Pregnant women
- Those aged 65 or over
- Those aged under 65 with long-term conditions
Dr Johan Zylstra, Clinical Chair for Wokingham CCG and a GP at Finchampstead Surgery, said: “People should not underestimate the effects of seasonal flu; it is not the same as getting a cold. It can seriously affect your health and the risks of developing complications are greater if you have certain medical conditions.
“Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from catching flu and I would urge everyone who is offered the vaccine free on the NHS to get vaccinated.”
“If you are in any of the ‘at risk’ groups, my advice is to visit your GP and get the free vaccination as soon as possible. This is the best form of protection for you and your family. “Seasonal flu can be a serious, life threatening illness. We must make sure that the people who are at greatest risk are fully protected.”
Cllr Julian McGhee Sumner, executive member for health and wellbeing at Wokingham Borough Council said: “The flu is far worse than a heavy cold, can really knock you off your feet, and you might need a stay in hospital. With our mild winters in recent years it’s easy to be complacent about the vaccination, but anyone can catch the virus. It’s important for yourself or your loved-ones to be vaccinated if you’re in one of the at-risk groups, or if you care for someone at risk, or work in health and social care. This vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community.”
As well as protecting against flu, the NHS Stay Well This Winter campaign will urge people over 65 or those with long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease or respiratory illness, to prepare for winter with advice on how to ward off common illnesses.
The NHS ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign urges the public to:
- Make sure you get your flu jab if eligible.
- Keep yourself warm - heat your home to least 18 degrees C or (65F) if you can.
- If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious.
- Make sure you get your prescription medicines before pharmacies close on Christmas Eve.
- Always take your prescribed medicines as directed.
- Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over winter.
(Dr Zylstra administering the flu jab)
Dr Zylstra continued: “In colder weather, keeping yourself warm is essential to staying healthy, especially for the very young, older people or those with a chronic illness. There are a range of health problems associated with cold housing and winter weather, but in particular, a cold indoor or outdoor environment can make heart and respiratory problems worse, and can be fatal.”
Note to editors:
- A video of Dr Johan Zylstra explaining the importance of getting the flu jab, for at-risk and eligible groups, is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1L2XIsIvBs&feature=youtu.be
- Dr Zylstra is available for interviews. To arrange please contact Victoria Brandon firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 07468 709197.
- Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for planning, designing and paying for NHS services. This includes planned and emergency hospital care, rehabilitation, most community services and mental health and learning disability services. Working with NHS England, this now includes planning GP services.