Guest columnist: Make sure you get your flu jab this winter

Coun Joyce Bosnjak
Coun Joyce Bosnjak

As temperatures start to fall over the coming weeks, it’s that time of year again when everyone needs to think about the annual ‘flu vaccination.

This year, the campaign is being rolled out to include more children with schools offering the free nasal spray to pupils in years one, two and three.

The nasal spray is a quick, easy and painless way to help prevent young children catching ‘flu.

Data shows that children under the age of five are the most likely to be admitted to hospital for flu compared to any other age group.”

It is the first time that children in year three have been offered the immunisation and I would encourage parents to take advantage of this service in a bid to curb the spread of illness during the winter months.

Younger children aged two to four years old will be offered the vaccination by their GP.

The other groups of people that are being urged to get the vaccination are pregnant women, those aged 65 or over, residents in long-stay residential care homes, carers, frontline health and social care workers.

People with certain medical conditions such as respiratory, renal, heart and liver diseases, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis or those suffering from a weakened immune system (HIV or cancer patients) are also strongly advised to get the vaccination.

This year’s seasonal flu vaccination programme hopes to see an increase in the uptake from those most at risk which in turn helps to reduce serious health consequences and hospitalisation amongst these groups as well as GP appointments and pressure on A&E.

You can get the ‘flu jab for free on the NHS from your local GP if you fall into one of the at-risk categories.

High street chemists and most of the leading supermarkets also offer the vaccination to anyone at varying costs.

Last year uptake of the flu vaccination in Nottinghamshire was similar to the national average.

Nevertheless, this left large numbers of people including older people, pregnant women and young children at risk of serious complications which are easily avoidable.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for those who are eligible for the ‘flu vaccine to have it.

It is vital that the uptake of the vaccine is maintained across all sectors and that schools, nurseries and parents understand the importance of why the vaccine should be given to children.

With many illnesses, one jab will keep you immunised for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately the flu virus is very clever and constantly changes, which is why you need a ‘flu jab every year and stay one step ahead.