28/09/2007

Young At-Risk People Urged To Get Flu Jab

More than two million at-risk young people are failing to get their flu jab, the UK's Chief Medical Officer has warned.

In 2006, around 58% of at-risk under-65s, such as those with asthma and diabetes, failed to get a flu jab, leaving over two million vulnerable to the side effects of the virus, which can lead to bronchitis, pneumonia, hospitalisation or even death.

People over 65 or those with a serious heart or respiratory condition; kidney or liver disease; diabetes; lowered immunity due to disease or treatment; multiple sclerosis; conditions of the nervous system or have suffered a stroke.

A new campaign is being launched by the Department of Health on Monday, which marks the start of the flu season and encourages those in 'at risk' groups or over 65 years of age to get the jab.

Campaigns in Northern Ireland and Scotland are due to be launched next week.

Flu contributes to over 25,000 excess winter deaths every year and thousands of people are hospitalised due to serious complications.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Liam Donaldson said: "It is a common misperception that it's only older people who suffer the most when they get flu. Many children and adults under the age of 65 are putting themselves at just as much risk to the effect of the virus.

"People and children at risk from the effects of flu need to get a flu jab every year. It only takes a minute to get the flu jab, but this will protect you, your child or grandchild for 12 months. This is why you should contact your GP and make an appointment to get a free annual flu jab. The flu jab can literally save lives."

Erica Evans, Care Development Manager at Asthma UK, said: "Younger people with asthma may be putting themselves at risk by missing out on the flu jab, which has been widely used for many years and is safe and effective. Colds and flue trigger the symptoms of 90% of the millions of people with asthma in the UK and while it is almost impossible to avoid catching the common cold, having a jab can help to prevent the flu virus taking hold. We would recommend that anyone with asthma discusses the possibility of having a flu jab with their GP this autumn, before the virus begins to circulate."

Cathy Moulton, care advisor at Diabetes UK, said: "Having flu can really upset diabetes control and cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate. This can leave people with diabetes open to many health problems including complications of flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis. As they are a high risk group when it comes to getting flu, it is very important that people with diabetes are vaccinated this winter."

(KMcA)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 October 2004
Free flu jab campaign launched today
The elderly, asthmatic and diabetes sufferers, have been urged to get the free flu jab before winter arrives – so protecting themselves against an illness which kills up to 4,000 people a year. Backed by Manchester United footballer, and asthma sufferer, Paul Scholes, the health department's flu immunisation campaign was launched today.
03 October 2005
Flu jab call for most vulnerable
A campaign urging over-65s and children with health problems to get the flu vaccination has been launched by the government. The annual flu jab is available free of charge to those aged over 65, care-home residents and those who suffer from diseases such as diabetes, heart or kidney disease and asthma.
01 October 2003
Health department clears up flu jab 'misunderstandings'
Some people aged 65 years and over are not claiming their free flu vaccinations because of "serious misunderstandings", according to research published today by the Department of Health.
03 October 2011
'Get Flu Jab' Urges Top Medic
It has been claimed that people "are playing Russian roulette with their lives" every year by not protecting themselves against seasonal flu. The Chief Medical Officer has also warned people to get vaccinated against yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A before jetting off on exotic holidays to Thailand or Africa.
22 November 2010
Flu Experts Urge Patients To Have The Jab
People at risk of complications from seasonal flu are being reminded of the importance to get themselves protected by taking advantage of the annual free flu jabs. Experts are seeing that the rates of people taking advantage of the seasonal flu vaccine are slightly lower than at the same point in previous years.