Many carers are unaware they are entitled to the free flu vaccine which can prevent them contracting the debilitating virus and avoid the serious consequences – not only for themselves – but also for those who depend on the care they provide.
Patients who need a fulltime carer are likely to be at greater risk of becoming more seriously ill from the flu than the general population, so it is important that their carers are protected against the virus. The free vaccination offers the best form of protection to Stay Well This Winter.
People over the age of 65, pregnant women, those with long term health conditions, school children from reception to year four as well as two and three year olds are being targeted this year.
NHS England’s Regional Medical Director (South), Dr Nigel Acheson said: “Many people think of flu as just a bad cold, but it is much more serious than that. In particular, those with caring responsibilities need to be extra careful which is why it’s important that they know that they are entitled to have the free flu vaccination and avoid becoming unwell.”
Paula Jackson, Public Health Screening and Immunisation lead for Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire said: “Getting flu could make your partner, relative or friend seriously ill. Speak to your GP or pharmacist about the flu vaccination. Better still you could accompany the person you care for and receive the vaccination at the same time.
“The free flu vaccination is easily obtainable from GP surgeries or participating pharmacies. This should be done as soon as possible ensuring that carers and the people they care for are protected at the earliest opportunity.”
Flu is a highly infectious and caused by viruses that spread from person to person. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.
Paula Jackson said: “It is important that over 65’s, pregnant women, and those in at risk groups get vaccinated as soon as possible. While children in reception to year four will be offered immunisation in schools, children aged two to three who have not started school should see their GP”
Notes to Editors:
1. You are entitled to a free flu jab if you receive a carer’s allowance or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
2. Many GP Practices hold large flu vaccination clinics. It is best to find out dates and times by checking on their websites or by calling them directly
3. Participating community pharmacies also offer a service for patients and carers who are eligible for the free flu vaccine
4. For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact Anamika Bansal, Communications and Engagement Manager, on 01753 636 836 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org