Clinicians from Across the County Back Flu Vaccine Campaign
This includes people most ‘at risk’ from complication of flu who are urged to book an appointment with their GP for a free NHS jab. These are:
- Anyone aged 65 and over;
- Pregnant women;
- Children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly a long-term heart, lung, liver or neurological disease and children and adults with weakened immune systems);
- An annual flu vaccine nasal spray is also now offered to healthy children aged two, three and four years (on 31 August 2015) and children in school years one and two.
In addition this year, most community pharmacies in Oxfordshire are providing free NHS flu vaccinations to eligible ‘at risk’ patients over the age of 18.
Dr Andrew Burnett, Urgent Care Lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, 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.
‘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.’
Tony Berendt, Medical Director at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘As Medical Director of the Trust and as an Infectious Diseases physician I am strongly encouraging all our staff, all patients in at risk groups, and all parents of children eligible for the vaccine, to take up the opportunity for free protection for themselves, their families, their work colleagues, and in the case of health and social care staff, their patients and clients. Flu is still a killer, and yearly vaccination is still the first plank in our defence against it.’
Cllr Hilary Hibbert-Biles, Cabinet Member for Public Health at Oxfordshire County Council, said: ‘With winter on the way it is a good idea to start thinking about how best to look after ourselves during the colder months. Getting your flu jab is such a simple way of protecting against what is a horrible illness, so if you’re eligible don’t put it off; contact your GP today and help keep Oxfordshire healthy this winter.’
Lucia Winrow, who leads district nursing in Oxfordshire, at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘The influenza virus can be hugely debilitating and even fatal in some cases when it attacks older people.
‘The seasonal flu jab is the best way for older people to protect themselves from what can be a very unpredictable virus that can have a massive impact on their health.
‘I would encourage anyone over-65 to get their vaccination as soon as possible either via their local pharmacy or GP practice, and for anyone who is house bound one of Oxford Health’s district nurses will be available to visit you at home.’
Paula Jackson, Consultant in Public Health, NHS England South (South Central) said: ‘The flu virus changes every year, so if you are eligible for a free NHS flu jab it is very important you get vaccinated again this year to protect yourself against the different strains of flu circulating.
‘If you are a parent, it is important to protect young children from flu too. This year, children in school years one and two and children aged two, three and four, will be offered the nasal spray vaccination, which is quick and painless, so they can stay protected and also reduce the chance of spreading the virus to other people at risk of catching flu, such as those with long-term health conditions and older people.’
Notes to Editors
- In Oxfordshire 2014/15, vaccine uptake amongst over-65s was 75.6%, under 65 ‘at risk’ of complications from flu 51.9%, pregnant women 49.6%, two year, three year and four year olds 44.6%.
- Public Health England (PHE) recommends a 75% vaccine uptake among over-65s and under 65s ‘at risk’. PHE is aiming for a 60% uptake among children aged 2, 3 and 4.
- GP practices across Oxfordshire have started their annual flu vaccination clinics and patients are encouraged to book an appointment with their surgery for a jab.
- Many community pharmacies across Oxfordshire this year have walk-in services for free NHS Flu vaccinations for ‘at risk’ groups – no appointment is needed. People who don’t qualify for one can visit their community pharmacy for a paid jab.
- If the media would like to interview Dr Andrew Burnett about the importance of people having the flu vaccination please contact the South, Central and West CSU Communications team. Tel 01865 340640. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the flu vaccination visit NHS Choices here