HEALTH AND CARE: Campaign launched to help protect the most vulnerable this winter

The flu vaccination is offered to those who are at an increased risk from the effects of flu
The flu vaccination is offered to those who are at an increased risk from the effects of flu

This week people are being urged to make sure they are protected against flu, as the NHS launches its national Stay Well This Winter campaign.

People 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.

It comes as the Chief Medical Officer has warned that flu, and complications associated with it, cause 8,000 deaths on average a year in England.

The flu vaccination is offered to those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu.

These include children aged two to eight, 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.

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 per cent.

For healthy children aged two to eight the flu vaccine is given in the form of a nasal spray, rather than an injection.

For the first time, year four children will be offered the vaccine in a school setting, along with children in reception and years one, two and three.

Children aged two to three are offered the flu vaccine in their GP surgeries.

To get your vaccine or find out if you are eligible, contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife for more information.

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.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign launches today and will help people to prepare for winter with simple tips and advice.

For more information visit nhs.uk/staywell