Protect yourself and others against the flu this winter

Published: Friday, 19th October 2018

Wellbeing support worker Tina Turner says she is having a free flu vaccination this year to protect herself and the people she looks after.

The 50-year-old, who has worked for Stoke-on-Trent City Council for 20 years, has had her injection to make sure she doesn’t get sick – and risk passing the flu on to others.

Tina, whose job involves visiting people in their homes and helping them become independent again after an illness or injury, says it’s important to her that she remains protected.

She said: “I had flu last year when I hadn’t had the jab, and I was really poorly with it. So this year I decided I would definitely get vaccinated against it.

“It’s a preventative measure, and helps to protect myself, my family, the people I care for and my colleagues.”

Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications if you have a long-term health condition like COPD; bronchitis, emphysema; diabetes; heart, kidney or liver disease or have suffered a stroke. On top of health conditions like these, it can easily develop into something very serious – and could land you in hospital.

The city council is encouraging those entitled to a free vaccination to book an appointment now. This includes pregnant women, people with learning disabilities and carers.

Children aged two and three – as well as school children from reception class through to year four – are also eligible for the free flu vaccine, which is administered in the form of a painless nasal spray.

The city council recommends vaccinations for:

  • Everyone aged 65 or over.
  • Anyone with long-term health conditions (such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes).
  • All children aged two and three, and those from reception to year four at school.
  • Pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy.
  • Everyone who has a learning disability.
  • Anyone caring for an older or disabled person.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of adult social care, health integration and wellbeing at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “Flu can be very serious for people who are old or young, or those with long-term health conditions. They are at particular risk from flu, and the flu vaccination is the best protection available against an unpredictable virus.

“Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as flu can cause serious complications for you and your baby, pregnant women who get the flu may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming ill. The flu jab is the safest way to protect you and your baby against flu and you can have it at any stage of pregnancy, however fit and healthy you might feel.

“If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, get it now – it’s free because you need it. Contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife for more information.”

Flu vaccination 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. For more information go to www.nhs.uk/staywell.

The school immunisation team can be contacted on 0300 124 0366.

For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232265.