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Press release – 6 October 2016
Frontline health and care workers from across Herefordshire are joining the fight against seasonal flu by making sure they are immunised against the virus to help protect patients and service users.
Flu can have very serious consequences for people with long term health conditions, the elderly and pregnant women. That’s why eleven key local health and care organisations have joined forces to help county residents stay well this winter and prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.
As the campaign kicked off this week, front line staff lined up to have their flu vaccination, including nurses, doctors, and community health workers, which is being offered at drop in clinics, on hospital wards, and as staff arrive for work.
Elsa Dixon, district nurse sister at Wye Valley NHS Trust, who has the flu vaccination every year, said: “It is our responsibility as healthcare workers to get vaccinated, so that we can protect our patients and colleagues from contracting the flu virus, and we’re also encouraging people in at risk groups to get vaccinated”.
Dr Peter McKay, from Primecare Hereford, said: “The flu vaccine is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu and is perfectly safe. It can help protect people who are at greater risk of getting seriously ill and being admitted to hospital. If you are in an at risk group, over 65, carer, pregnant or have a long term condition, don’t put it off contact your GP, pharmacy or midwife to get the free flu vaccination or the nasal spray for children aged two, three and four, and those in school years one, two and three”.
Local organisations supporting this year’s national NHS campaign include Wye Valley NHS Trust, Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Public Health, Herefordshire Council, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Service, Taurus Healthcare GP Federation, Primecare, Healthwatch Herefordshire, Herefordshire Carers Support, and Herefordshire Voluntary Organisations Support Service (HVOSS).
Rachel Wilkins, from Herefordshire Carers Support, commented: “The best way to protect yourself and the person you care for from flu is to get the flu vaccination. Carers are eligible to receive the seasonal flu vaccine free each winter”.
Nick Montandon, Herefordshire Area Manager from West Midlands Ambulance Service, added: “We attend medical emergencies every day, dealing with some of the most vulnerable members of our community so it is vital that our staff are protected against the flu virus, so that they don’t pass it on to those patients. However, by getting the flu jab, we also protect our own family and friends.”
You are eligible to receive a free flu jab if you:
- are 65 years of age or over (or will be 65 on March 31 2016)
- are pregnant
- have certain medical conditions
- are very overweight - anyone with a body mass index (BMI) over 40
- are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
- 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
- are a healthcare worker with direct patient contact, or a social care worker
Herefordshire health and care staff showing their support for this year’s flu vaccination.