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Cheshire Council Leader Urges Residents to Take Up Flu Vaccine

Published: 19th December 2017 13:44

A Letter to the editor from Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, Samantha Dixon.

FluThe UK is expecting a heavy year for flu, it has already started to spread in Cheshire and Merseyside over the last few weeks and I'm urging all eligible residents to get the flu vaccination.

Christmas is fast approaching and everyone is looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends. We want to help everyone prepare for the cold weather and protect themselves and those they care for.

During the festive period, our health services can be stretched with increased hospital admissions and we can help to reduce strain on the NHS during this busy period. I would recommend that everyone who can get a flu jab, takes it up. The vaccination helps to protect you, your family, and your local community from the virus, including those who may be at high risk of serious illnesses like pneumonia and worse if they contracted it.
You are eligible for the free flu vaccination if you are over 65, under 65 with a long-term health condition, pregnant, a main carer of an elderly or disabled person or live with someone with a weakened immune system.

Children aged between two and nine are also usually offered the nasal spray vaccination by their local GP or in school.

Outbreaks of flu can occur in any setting and we need to protect our more vulnerable residents. A couple of years ago a number of flu outbreaks in care homes across the borough affected close to 200 residents and 50 employees. Health and social care workers who work closely with people particularly susceptible to infection should also be offered flu vaccination by their employer - if you haven't been please ask for it.
This year if you work for a registered care provider you can get vaccinated for free at your registered GP or participating pharmacy on production of your ID badge or a payslip. It is so important that frontline staff get the free flu vaccine and protect the vulnerable people they care for.

Not everyone who is eligible is aware and so it's important that you speak with your doctor or local pharmacy, they will also be able to answer any questions that you have.

If you are not eligible for a free flu vaccination, there are many pharmacies now offering a private vaccination service at a small fee. By getting the flu vaccine, you not only reduce the risk of getting the flu yourself, you will also help protect your family and friends.

If you need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk. So please help spread the word - make sure that the ones that you love are protected this season and help to reduce the impact that flu has on our vital NHS services this winter.

Councillor Samantha Dixon

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