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Senior leaders support flu vaccination
Senior Leaders urge Islanders to support flu vaccination
06 October 2017

Senior Leaders from the NHS and IW Council are giving their full support to this year’s flu vaccination programme and are urging members of the public who are at most risk from flu to take up their offer of a free NHS vaccine.

Flu is highly infectious and spreads easily from person to person. It can be particularly dangerous for people who are already in hospital and other care settings and who are much more vulnerable to infection. The call to action comes as Public Health England warns the NHS to brace itself for flu following what has been reported as the worst flu outbreak in many years in Australia and New Zealand.

IoW NHS Trust Chief Executive, Maggie Oldham, said: “Flu is a really unpleasant illness, particularly for our most vulnerable patients and it is essential that people take steps to protect themselves during the winter months.

“Every year we offer the flu vaccine to all NHS staff to help protect them from contracting the virus and passing it to others and it is extremely important in the interests of patient care that our healthcare workers, who are more likely to be exposed to the influenza virus, have the vaccination.”

The national flu vaccination programme is part of the ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign, a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England, to help the public ward off common winter illnesses. The flu vaccine for eligible children from 2 to 8 years old is just a quick and easy nasal spray. For children aged 2 and 3 their nasal spray vaccine is available through their GP.  School children from reception class through to year 4 will get their nasal spray through their school. The campaign also targets pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions to take up the offer of a vaccination. These people are at particular risk from flu.

Helen Shields, IoW Clinical Commissioning Group Chief Officer said: “The NHS is under unprecedented demand and we know winter can bring added pressures. We need to make sure we are prepared for this, with robust local plans in place. However, flu is unpredictable and can be incredibly serious so it is really important for people to take steps to care for themselves and others.” 

John Metcalfe, Isle of Wight Council Chief Executive, said: “Many of the Council’s teams work closely with our community; especially our more vulnerable residents.  All of our front line staff are encouraged to get their flu vaccination, because this can help to minimise spread of the virus within the community.  I would urge people who are most at risk from flu to take up their offer of a free NHS vaccine, to protect themselves, their families and the wider community.”

Anyone eligible for a free flu vaccine should contact their GP, pharmacist or midwife to get the flu jab. For more information on flu and staying well visit www.nhs.uk/staywell.  Those wishing to support and promote the ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign to get more Islanders vaccinated can access free digital materials (including the logo below) and information at https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/34-stay-well-this-winter-/resources.

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