Not enough people with asthma are being vaccinated against the flu virus in the Black Country, despite being eligible for a free jab on the NHS.
Whist many people are aware that the flu vaccination is free for people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children aged 2 to 4 years old, carers and people with existing health conditions – people with asthma are amongst the lowest uptake group.
Research has shown that asthma sufferers, who are otherwise healthy, often do not associate themselves as at-risk or as having a long term condition. This has meant the message stressing the importance of those at-risk being vaccinated is often missed by this group.
Dr Steve Mann, GP and Clinical Executive, from Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Flu is an unpredictable virus that can cause mild or unpleasant illness in most people, but it can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups. People with asthma that requires an inhaled or tablet steroid treatment, or has led to hospital admission in the past should be vaccinated against flu each year.
“Many people with asthma control their condition well and are otherwise healthy, which is fantastic, but means that they don’t consider themselves to be in an at-risk group. People with asthma are considered at be in an at-risk group when it comes to flu so we urge them to take up the offer of a free flu vaccine. Currently only about half of the people eligible have the vaccination.”
The winter campaign to inform patients about the flu vaccine and the right NHS service to use for different conditions and illnesses is being run by the four clinical commissioning groups across the Black Country in association with the Black Country Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.