Health leaders across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) are urging people not to delay getting their flu jab if they are eligible for a free vaccination this winter.

People who are eligible include those who are aged over 65 years, pregnant women, anyone who is the main carer for another person or who is in receipt of Carers’ Allowance, and those with a long-term condition such as diabetes or asthma.

Children between the ages of two and eight years old are eligible for the free nasal vaccination, which is quick, harmless and the best way to protect against catching flu this winter.

Dr Peter Mack, Clinical Chair of NHS Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group said: “If you or someone close to you falls into one of these categories, the flu vaccination is free because you or they really do need it.

“Whilst flu is usually a self-limiting illness, it can be very dangerous and cause serious complications for vulnerable people such as those with long-term conditions, and pregnant women.”

This year, there is an emphasis in the BSW Sustainability and Transformation Partnership on carers taking up the offer of a free flu vaccination. A carer is someone of any age who looks after an elderly person or someone with a disability.

 Susanna Jones, Chief Executive, Swindon Carers Centre adds: "Often, people in a caring role put their own health needs last.  We are urging all carers to protect their own health, as well as the health of the person/people they care for, by ensuring they have a free flu jab this autumn.  There are many ways to access the vaccination so it is convenient for you."

Rosie, a carer said: “Caring is an incredibly serious role and carers provide an invaluable service to the community. They care for family members and friends who may be elderly, disabled or have a serious long-term condition and it is vital that they look after their own health as well as the health of the person they care for.” 

Rosie adds: “One winter I fell really ill, which made me very anxious that I might not be able to fulfil my caring role. So, I urge anyone in a caring capacity to protect yourself this winter and have the free flu vaccination without delay.”

Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications if you have a long-term health condition like bronchitis or liver disease. It can also cause serious complications for both mother and baby if pregnant women catch it. The flu jab is the safest way to protect yourself from illness this winter – however healthy you might otherwise feel.

If you are eligible or want to check whether you or someone close to you is, contact your GP, midwife or usual healthcare provider. Some pharmacies are also able to provide the flu vaccination to certain eligible groups. Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell/ for more information.

ENDS

For further information please get in touch with:  Swindon CCG This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  

Editors Notes:

  •  Watch Rosie talking about her experiences of caring for her partner one winter while she was unwell herself: https://youtu.be/j8AEya5-kNA
  • Carer’s do not have to be in receipt of a Carers’ Allowance to receive the flu vaccination free of charge.

  • All health and social care organisations are working together across Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire on a five-year sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) to improve our local population’s health and wellbeing, to improve service quality and to deliver financial stability.

  • Find out more about the BSW STP here: http://www.bswstp.nhs.uk/

      

Swindon CCG

Swindon CCG Mission: to optimise the healthcare of the people of Swindon and Shrivenham.

  • Swindon CCG vision: to ensure everyone in Swindon and Shrivenham lives a healthy, safe, fulfilling and independent life and is supported by thriving and connected communities.

  • Swindon CCG covers a population of 231,515 and comprises 25 member GP practices.

  • Swindon CCG commissions c£253m of local health services.

     

     

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