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Featured Wednesday, Jan 8 2020

Eligible for the flu jab? There’s still time to get vaccinated

People in East Berkshire are being reminded that it’s not too late to get their flu vaccination, especially if they are eligible for it free on the NHS.

GP practices across Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead, Bracknell and Ascot will be offering the flu jab, and in some cases the nasal spray, until March 2020 to those at risk of developing serious complications from flu such as:

  • People under 65 years in clinical risk groups, which include patients with diabetes, chronic (long term) heart and respiratory disease
  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged 2 and 3
  • Those aged 65 years and over

Jo Greengrass, Associate Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety for East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We know that the Flu virus is circulating and that the numbers of people who have the flu is increasing at present. It is therefore important that those who need the flu vaccination have theirs if they haven’t already.

“It is particularly important for anyone in the higher risk groups – e.g. Patients with diabetes; kidney and liver disease; anyone whose immunity is reduced, for example cancer patients; all patients aged 65 and over and also pregnant women.

“Patients with diabetes for example, are more at risk of developing serious complications arising from a flu infection. Complications can include pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, brain and muscle tissues and even multi-organ failure.

“If you are in a risk group, then I would urge you to visit your GP surgery or pharmacist and get the vaccination as soon as possible. It is not too late to get vaccinated for your protection and that of your family as the vaccine will be available on the NHS until the end of March 2020.”

She added: “The school’s programme across East Berkshire has been a huge success this year as thousands of primary school-aged children have received their free nasal spray. Unfortunately, we have seen a considerable reduction in the number of 2 and 3 years olds vaccinated and would encourage parents to ensure that they protect their little ones by making an appointment with their GP as soon as possible.”

For most healthy people, influenza is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease. However, older people, pregnant women and those with underlying disease or long term medical conditions can be at particular risk of severe illness if they catch it.

In addition to residents being reminded that it’s not too late to get their flu vaccination, NHS-employed frontline healthcare workers are also being urged to get their vaccine if they haven’t already.

Jo Greengrass added: “Outbreaks of flu can occur in health and social care settings, and because flu is so contagious, staff, patients and residents are all at risk of infection. If you’re a frontline health and social care worker, you’re eligible for an NHS flu vaccine and I would urge you to get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”