Thursday, 1 November 2012
Don't forget the Flu Jab this Winter!
Last year, 74% of people over 65 years and 53% in the at risk groups were vaccinated against flu in the Makerfield constituency compared with the national averages of 74% for the over 65s and 51.6% for those ‘at risk’.
The seasonal flu vaccination is important to help protect those people who are more susceptible to serious complications or even death from flu. I would encourage all those that are over the age of 65 or are in one of the ‘at risk’ groups to visit their surgeries and get vaccinated.
The NHS has a very successful seasonal flu programme. The uptake rate for flu vaccines in those aged 65 and over reached 74% in 2011/12, which is just below the WHO target of 75%. The Department of Health, however, wants to improve the uptake rates for those people under 65 years of age with clinical conditions which put them more at risk from the effects of flu. This currently stands at 51.6%, and the Department hopes to increase it to 70%. Uptake among pregnant women in 2011/12 was only 27.4%.
According to the influenza immunisation program 2012/13, influenza vaccination should be offered to:
• All those aged 65 and over
• All those aged over 6 months in the following clinical ‘at-risk’ groups:
• Chronic respiratory disease and asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of inhaled or systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission
• Chronic heart disease
• Chronic renal disease
• Chronic liver disease
• Chronic neurological disease
• Pregnant women
• Those living in long-stay residential and nursing homes or other long-stay facilities
• Those who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill. Vaccination should be given at the GP’s discretion.
• Healthcare workers in the NHS are being encouraged to take up vaccination, especially those employees directly involved in patient care.