Council backing for community flu vaccination campaign

Published Friday 25 September 2020 at 11:18

Blackburn with Darwen Council is backing a major local drive to protect people from flu this winter.

NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are urging all eligible people to get a free flu vaccination in their refreshed ‘Protect Your Family’ campaign.

The plea comes to help protect the nation from the double threat of flu and coronavirus (Covid-19) this winter. Whilst the flu vaccination won’t protect against Covid-19 it is critical in protecting the general health of the population, particularly those at high risk from Covid-19. Unfortunately many of the groups who are vulnerable to flu are also more vulnerable to Covid-19.

This year, the flu programme is being expanded with vaccination being offered to more groups than ever in an effort to help protect people from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services; a record number of 30 million people will be offered the free flu vaccine.

Eligible groups of people who can receive the free vaccination are:

  • All 2 and 3 year olds
  • All primary school aged children and secondary school Year 7
  • Pregnant women
  • Those in a clinical at risk group such as those with respiratory (breathing) problems, diabetes, chronic heart, kidney or liver disease (this list is not exhaustive)
  • Those aged 65 and over
  • Household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, or of immunocompromised individuals, specifically individuals who expect to share living accommodation with a shielded patient on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable
  • Health and social care workers

Councillor Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:

This year, more than ever, it’s really important to get a free flu vaccination if you are in one of the ‘at risk’ categories. Winter will pose some serious difficulties with the coronavirus pandemic and so you will be helping to protect your families, colleagues and the most vulnerable members of the community at a time when we must do all we can.

Dr David White, Clinical Lead for Urgent Care across Pennine Lancashire, said:

This winter more than ever, with Covid-19 still circulating, we need to help reduce all avoidable risks. Vaccinating more people will help reduce flu transmission and stop people becoming ill. It is vital that every contact counts and that all eligible patients are aware of the importance of having a flu vaccination and know where to get it be that GP surgery flu clinic, a local pharmacy, or a visiting district nurse. In particular it is vitally important that children are vaccinated, 2 to 4 years olds need to attend their GP practice whilst school aged children will be vaccinated in school.

Pregnant women can attend their GP flu clinic or may be offered a flu vaccination at their ante-natal appointment. We need to get the eligible population in the habit of asking about their flu vaccination and where and when they can receive it. GP surgeries are already planning their flu clinics so we are encouraging patients to phone up and book an appointment.

Flu is preventable but it can affect anyone and contrary to what many people believe, the flu is not just a bad cold; it’s a serious respiratory illness that can kill.  It is a highly infectious illness which spreads rapidly in closed communities and even people with mild or no symptoms can infect others.

If you are unsure whether you are in one of the eligible groups being offered the free flu vaccination, please contact either your GP practice or local pharmacy.

More details can also be found online.

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