Get protected – County Council encourages take up of free flu jab
As autumn and winter temperatures set in, public health officials in Nottinghamshire are reminding people of all ages to get the annual flu vaccination.
This year, as well as the usual vulnerable groups that include pregnant women, those aged 65 or over, residents in long-stay residential care homes, and people with long-term medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, the flu jab campaign will look at all frontline care staff who are directly employed and those services commissioned by the County Council.
It is hoped that over the next three years, the Council will work towards achieving a 75% uptake of the vaccination for frontline workers, a significant increase on the current uptake of 16.8%.
The report, which was approved at a meeting of the Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, presented clear evidence that a high level of uptake amongst frontline workers helps to protect vulnerable service users in care homes and nursing homes as well as children and adults with long term health conditions.
The seasonal flu jab is also being promoted to children aged 2, 3 and 4 and to children in reception, 1, 2, 3 and 4 as a free nasal spray.
The nasal spray is a quick, easy and painless way to help prevent young children catching flu. Data shows that children under the age of five are the most likely to be admitted to hospital for flu compared to any other age group.
Councillor Stewart Wallace, chairman of the Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, said: “Vaccination is the best protection we have against flu so I would encourage everyone who is included in the at-risk categories to book a flu jab at their general practice or with another healthcare professional.
"I cannot stress enough how important it is for those who are eligible for the flu vaccine to have it. It is vital that the uptake of the vaccine is maintained across all sectors and that schools, nurseries and parents understand the importance of why the vaccine should be given to children.
"A flu vaccination is needed every year as the flu virus is very clever and constantly changes. It’s an easy way to avoid the potentially serious complications which occur for some people who catch flu."
You can get the flu jab for free on the NHS from your local GP if you fall into one of the at-risk categories. High street chemists and most of the leading supermarkets also offer the vaccination to anyone at varying costs.
Last year uptake of the flu vaccination in Nottinghamshire was similar to the national average. Nevertheless, this left large numbers of people who were eligible for the vaccination, unvaccinated including older people, pregnant women and young children at risk of serious complications which are easily avoidable.