The Mayor of Sandwell, Dr Ann Jaron and our CCG are calling on thousands of patients to get vaccinated as flu cases continue to rise across the country. The rate of influenza like illness (ILI) has increased in recent weeks and is above threshold levels for the first time this flu season.
Nearly 30,000 people in Sandwell and West Birmingham remain at risk of flu this Christmas because they haven’t had their flu vaccination, new figures have revealed. Statistics show up to 31 October 2019, nearly 30,000 people within the at-risk groups in Sandwell and West Birmingham have not taken up the offer of the free flu vaccination.
Studies have proven the vaccine will help prevent flu in patients and reduce the length and strength of flu if caught. Flu viruses change every year so people need to update their vaccination each year to match the new virus.
Dr Ann Jaron, Mayor of Sandwell, said:
"I would urge anybody who is eligible to come and get your free flu jab, you just need to either ask at your place of work, your GP surgery, or your Pharmacy. If you are in a high-risk group, let your GP practice know when you have had your flu jab as your GP has the responsibility for checking that you have had it."
Dr Ian Sykes, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said:
"It’s important that everyone who is eligible for the flu vaccine contacts their local GP practice or Pharmacy so they can be protected as soon as possible. Last year thousands of people in Sandwell and West Birmingham took unnecessary risks with their lives by not taking the steps to protect themselves. Flu is a serious, sometimes even life-threatening illness, which people can catch easily when it is circulating."
Many people worry that the vaccine can give them the flu, but this isn’t possible as there is no live influenza virus in the vaccine. The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk. This is to help protect them against catching flu and developing serious complications.
People should have the flu vaccine if they are:
- 65 years or over
- have certain medical conditions
- are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
- receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if taken ill.