Call for at-risk people to sign up for free flu jab

Coun Tracey Dixon and diabetes campaigner  Clare Allom.
Coun Tracey Dixon and diabetes campaigner Clare Allom.

People in South Tyneside who are entitled to a free flu vaccine are being encouraged to take up the offer without delay.

Those who can have the vaccine for free are people aged 65 and over, children aged between two and nine and those with an underlying health condition.

Local campaigner and fund-raiser Clare Allom, who has diabetes, has already had her flu jab.

The 73-year-old, who lives in Whiteleas, South Shields, said: “Flu is a very serious illness, and the flu jab gives someone with diabetes the best possible chance of avoiding it.

“I think everyone with an underlying health condition should take sensible steps to protect themselves by getting the vaccine.”

People with an underlying health condition such as diabetes, bronchitis, COPD, heart disease or multiple sclerosis are advised to get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing, said: “Flu on top of existing health conditions increases the chance of serious health complications.

“Having a serious infection such as flu can cause blood sugar levels to rise so high that they become dangerous. Even for people who manage their diabetes well, dangerously high sugar levels can lead to acute complications, which can often go unrecognised and could even be fatal.”

The flu jab is one of the 15 healthcare essentials that everyone with diabetes is entitled to through the NHS every year.

For more information about diabetes and flu, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/seasonal-flu

The free flu vaccine is offered to priority groups as part of the Stay Well This Winter campaign. For more information, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell/