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Preston residents urged to get flu jabs to boost winter immunity

Posted on - 24th September, 2021 - 12:12pm | Author - | Posted in - Health, People, Preston News
Pic: Pixabay

Preston GPs have urged residents to get flu jabs as soon as possible to boost winter immunity.

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Each year, GPs in the region call on those eligible to get their jab to help protect themselves, their family and friends from the flu virus.

The Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership said in a year like no other, and the first year that flu will co-circulate alongside Covid-19, vaccinating against flu is now vital.

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Dr Rahul Keith, a local GP, said: “Flu can be debilitating for anyone, and for those in an at-risk category, it can have a serious impact.

“If you are very young, old, or living with a condition, you could be adversely affected, so we are asking everyone eligible for the free flu jab to ensure they get it as soon as it is offered. It is a simple procedure that could ultimately save lives.

“The public uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine this year has been very encouraging, but flu is, of course, a completely different virus, so getting this vaccination is just as important in boosting your immunity in the winter months.”

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The NHS is preparing to deliver a Covid-19 booster campaign, but it is vital that people do not delay getting their usual protection against the flu virus, as encouraged every year.

Flu is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza A or B viruses. It can cause mild illness in most people, but some are more likely to develop potentially serious complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Many GP surgeries will already have contacted their most at-risk patients to arrange suitable appointments. Some surgeries will also be running flu clinics to offer more opportunities and share any dates with patients accordingly.

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Local pharmacists can also administer vaccines, and those eligible can make enquiries about available appointments.

Groups eligible for a free NHS flu jab in the 2021 to 2022 season are as follows:

  • Children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021 – who will be offered a nasal spray
  • Those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • Those aged 50 years and over
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline health and social care staff employed by a registered residential care or nursing home, domiciliary care provider, or a voluntary managed hospice provider.

The NHS is now heading towards a highly unpredictable winter. With mask-wearing and social distancing in place, flu activity levels were low last year. As a result, a lower level of population immunity against flu is expected this winter.

Research has shown that it is more likely for individuals to become seriously ill if they get flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Read more: Preston residents wait an average of 10 days for GP appointments

Dr Keith said: “Getting the vaccine takes just a couple of minutes, and it’s the best defence we have against the spread of flu.

“It protects against strains of flu that are predicted to circulate each year, as these strains may be different from previous years. If you have never had flu or a flu jab before, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it this year.

“The level of protection may vary from person to person, but if you do get flu after the vaccination, it is likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it otherwise might have been.

“There is obviously a great deal of pressure on health and care systems at the moment, so people getting their flu jab is another important step people can take to help us help you through the busy winter season.”

For more information on flu, visit – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu



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