'Flu kills people, vaccines don't' - South Tyneside health chiefs issue stark winter warning

“Flu kills people, vaccines don’t,” is the message from health chiefs to the public this winter.

Friday, 29th November 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 29th November 2019, 3:16 pm
File picture of a flu jab

“Flu kills people, vaccines don’t,” is the message from health chiefs to the public this winter.

And patients are being urged to take advantage of the vaccines on offer, especially those considered ‘at risk’, including children and pregnant women, who can get the jab for free.

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“Every year we put more attention on flu vaccines but there’s still wide variation between practices and different groups of people,” said Dr David Hambleton, chief executive of South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“We shouldn’t forget this is a really good and effective preventative measure which works and if we get more systematic we get better coverage.

“If you look at flu outbreaks and the impact of those on communities they can really be quite stark, so we need to get more preventative in our approach to flu.

“Flu kills people, vaccines don’t.”

Dr Hambleton was speaking at this morning’s (Thursday, November 28) meeting of the CCG’s governing body.

The flu jab is available from GPs and pharmacists, as well as midwives for pregnant women, and costs about £10-13 for those not eligible to receive it for free.

Mums-to-be, children aged two – three and people with long term conditions such as asthma and diabetes are among groups considered ‘at risk’ who can receive the flu vaccine without having to pay.

According to NHS figures, slightly more than half of all patients in South Tyneside eligible for a flu jab took up the offer last year (2018/19), ahead of the take up rate for both the North East and England as a whole.

Autumn, from the beginning of October to the end of November, is thought to be the best time to get it, ahead of the flu season, which runs December – March, according to the NHS.

As well as those deemed ‘at risk’, carers are also eligible for free jabs to minimise the potential infection risk they pose to the people they care for.