Vulnerable groups offered flu jab
TODDLERS in Swindon will be offered flu vaccinations for the first time this year.
Children aged two and three will be offered a nasal spray vaccine, as opposed to the jab, because of the high risk of severe illness if they contract the virus.
Swindon Council, NHS England and Public Health England have said young children’s close contact with each other means they are more likely to transmit the virus to other vulnerable groups.
The three organisations are working together this winter to deliver vaccinations to over 65s, pregnant women, those with long-term health conditions, health and social care workers, carers and primary school children.
Cherry Jones, the acting director of public health at the council, said: “Influenza is an important cause of ill health over the winter months.
“It is especially bad for older members of our community, pregnant women and those with long term health conditions.
“If you are at increased risk from influenza please contact your GP and book an appointment to get vaccinated.
“From this year, two to three-year-olds will be offered flu vaccination in form of a painless nasal spray. This is to prevent flu in children and reduce spread of flu.”
About 760 people were admitted to intensive care with complications of flu last year, a figure which has ensured the campaign to raise awareness of the vaccination continues.
Those considered especially at risk are, on average, 11 times more likely to die than someone who does not have a health condition.
“In the last two years, Swindon has had the highest vaccination rate for pregnant women in the south west.
“This year we intend to maintain and improve on this and ensure that all pregnant women in Swindon get vaccinated against flu, protecting mother and child.”
All GP practices in Swindon are participating in this year’s vaccination and have started calling eligible people for free NHS flu vaccination.
If you haven’t been contacted by your GP, call and request an appointment for vaccination.
People who are not eligible for free NHS flu vaccination can contact local pharmacies, most of who offer flu vaccination for a small fee.
For information visit www.nhs.uk/fluand thefluvaccine.aspx.
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