People in Staffordshire are being urged to get protected this winter as the Government launches the largest national influenza campaign in history.
More residents are expected to benefit from the free flu vaccine in eligible groups including those aged 50 and over, pregnant women, frontline health and adult social care staff and children aged 2 and 3 along with all school aged children.
The Covid-19 booster programme will run alongside the flu programme with eligible cohorts invited to get their booster six months after their second dose of the vaccine.
Cabinet Support Member for Public Health and Integrated Care, Dr Johnny McMahon, stressed the importance of those eligible getting their vaccines this winter.
Johnny said: “It’s important that as many people as possible get their flu jab this year to help protect themselves and the most vulnerable in their communities. The risk of catching flu could be higher this year due to the lower circulation of the virus last winter and this could lead to more people falling ill and needing to go to hospital which will put strain on our local healthcare services in addition to the Covid-19 pressures.”
“The flu vaccine and Covid-19 booster are there to give protection to those most vulnerable of getting seriously ill from these viruses. So please, if you are eligible, take up the offer and get your flu and Covid booster jabs when called forward.”
Dr Paddy Hannigan, Vaccine Programme Clinical Lead for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent said: “Last year’s flu vaccination programme was the most successful on record with more than 80 per cent take-up which undoubtedly helped the NHS cope with winter pressures and stopped many people from becoming ill. We aim to repeat or even improve upon that this year.
“We urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated when their opportunity arises. Despite supply chain issues requiring some early clinics to be rescheduled, we are confident we shall be able to deliver another successful flu vaccination campaign that keeps as many people as possible healthy during winter 2021-22.”
The flu jab will be available to:
- all children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2021
- all children in primary school and all children in school years 7 to 11 in secondary school
- those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
- pregnant women
- those aged 50 years and over
- unpaid carers
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- frontline health and adult social care staff
A range of venues will be providing the flu vaccine this winter including GP practices and pharmacies and school based providers. The nasal spray vaccine is offered to 2 and 3-year-olds and children in primary school and year 7 and, for the first time this year, secondary school aged children up to year 11.
More information about the flu vaccine can be found on the NHS website.