Chair of NHS Newham CCG and GP Dr Zuhair Zarifa says avoid the flu


- Credit: Archant

Become a flu fighter and get the flu jab. Last year, more Newham residents vulnerable to flu received a free jab than in any other part of London. This includes pregnant women and people with long-term conditions such as diabetes. Plus, 75 per cent of residents over 65 years old received a flu jab last year. This means that less people in Newham got the flu.

I’m asking everyone to get a flu jab again this year, especially people in high risk groups. The flu vaccine is updated every year to combat the latest flu strains, so even if you had the jab last year, you will need it again this year.

For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant experience, but for some people it flu has the potential to be really serious – causing complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia and in some cases even death. That’s why it’s so important that people at risk make an appointment with their GP to get their flu jab.

At risk groups include:

• People aged 65 or over.

• Pregnant women.

• People with a long term condition such as a heart problem, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, a chest complaint or breathing difficulties including bronchitis or emphysema.

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• People with a weakened immune system – for example patients taking steroids or undergoing treatment for cancer.

• All children aged between two and four years old.

• Carers for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

All GP surgeries in the borough offer the jab free of charge to people who are at risk to make sure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.

If you are part of any of the groups identified as being at risk of developing flu, then you should get a flu jab from your GP surgery. It’s completely safe, it’s free, and it can’t give you flu. For children, the vaccine can also be delivered via a nasal spray, eliminating the need for injections.

If you are not part of these groups and want to make sure you avoid the flu this year you can pop in to a local pharmacy and pay for a flu jab. More from Dr Zarifa