East Londoners urged to protect against flu

Health bosses across east London are urging residents at risk of flu to protect themselevs with a free jab.

Their call comes as latest figures show that only 40 per cent of pregnant women and 50 per cent of people with long term health conditions have had the flu jab so far this winter.

Now clinical staff across Newham and Tower Hamlets are urging those most at risk from flu to protect themselves and their families as a matter of priority with a free flu jab.

Dr May Cahill, medical director for NHS North East London and the City said: “Flu can knock even the healthiest people off their feet for a couple of weeks, but for some people it can be really serious - it can even cause death.

“I really want to emphasize how serious flu can be. Not only can it stop you caring for your kids and keep you off work, but it can lead to more serious illness and a spell in hospital – and no one wants that over the holiday period.”

Those at most risk from flu include pregnant women, people living with a health condition such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints, and those aged 65 and over.

In recent years, critical care units across the region have been busy with people who should have been vaccinated against flu but instead ended up so seriously ill over the holiday period that they had to be ventilated as doctors battled to keep them alive.

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Most of these patients were young and middle aged adults with long term health conditions, as well as pregnant women, who should have been vaccinated.