People in Blyth Valley who are at risk from flu are being reminded to protect themselves and their families and get flu safe with a free flu jab.
Dr Frances Naylor, Blyth Valley locality lead for NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is reminding people - especially pregnant women, children with complex health needs and adults with long term health conditions – they need to make sure they have their annual flu vaccine.
She said: “We want to remind pregnant women, the parents of children with complex health needs and adults with long term health conditions that they really need to make sure they protect themselves and have the vaccine.
“Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse. Flu can knock you off your feet and make it hard to look after the kids or go to work. In the most serious cases seasonal flu might land you in hospital.”
Dr Naylor urged pregnant women, those with lowered immunity or a long term health condition such as severe asthma, a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes, to make an appointment with your GP for a free flu jab.
“The flu jab is very safe, and it can’t give you flu.” she added. “We’re making it as easy as possible for people to get their free vaccine again this year. Community pharmacies are also offering the vaccination for free to those at risk and many of them are open longer hours which can be more convenient for people who work.”
The NHS in England has launched the new Flu Safe campaign to remind people that they should get a flu jab. The best time to be vaccinated is now so make an appointment with your GP as soon as you can.
Those people at risk who are under 65 can also go along to participating pharmacists and have the flu vaccine. Patients who choose to go along to the pharmacy will need to take their GP letter and photo identification along to prove they are eligible for the vaccination.
If you are not sure whether you are eligible for a flu vaccination please check on the NHS choices website at www.nhs.uk/flu
NHS Northumberland CCG represents all 46 GP practices across the county and covers a population of around 330,000. To ensure a local focus the CCG has four localities – North, West, Blyth Valley and Central.
The CCG is working towards becoming authorised as it prepares to take on new statutory duties for the planning and purchasing of healthcare and health services for the people of Northumberland. NHS Northumberland CCG is working closely with NHS North of Tyne, the current commissioners of NHS services in the county, to start taking on new responsibilities from April 2013.