Get flu jab: Newham health chiefs urge

Health bosses in Newham are urging people at risk to get a free seasonal flu jab .

They are reminding people not to wait until there is an outbreak or an invite before having the jab. The 2012 flu vaccine is already available in the borough.

Those who can access the free vaccine and should take up this offer are:

• people aged 65 and over

• pregnant women at any stage in their pregnancy

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• adults and children living with long term health conditions

• everyone living in a residential or nursing home

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• everyone who cares for an older or disabled person or considers themselves to be a career

• all frontline health and social care workers.

Those living with long term health conditions are particularly vulnerable if they have: a serious respiratory disease (including asthma and COPD), heart disease, diabetes, serious kidney or liver disease, a chronic neurological disease (including motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease), or a weakened immune system caused by disease or treatment.

Pregnant women are strongly recommended to be immunised with the seasonal flu vaccine, whatever their stage of pregnancy. The flu jab has been shown to be very safe and does not carry risks for either the mother or baby. The jab will also protect a new born against flu for the first few months of their life.

There are around 8,000 deaths a year in England and Wales as a result of seasonal flu.

A new jab this winter will be required even if you had the seasonal flu vaccine last year. The flu virus changes every year and a new vaccine is developed each year to protect against it.

Rachel Flowers, joint director of public health in Newham for NHS North East London and the City and the London Borough of Newham, said: “Those at greater risk of developing complications from seasonal flu in Newham should protect themselves as early as possible.

“Seasonal flu is not to be underestimated, and can increase the risk of more serious illnesses such as pneumonia.”

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