North West NHS urges eligible people to get their free flu jab as numbers of children in hospital remains high

North West NHS urges eligible people to get their free flu jab as numbers of children in hospital remains high

NHS leaders in the North Westare urging eligible people to get their free NHS flu vaccine as thousands of people across the country are still in hospital with flu and hundreds in critical care, as levels of flu circulating within our communities remain high.

The latest data shows that flu inpatient numbers are still much higher than they have been since the pandemic hit, with nearly 500 people in North West hospitals with the virus last week and 35 in critical care. Hospitalisation rates are highest for older adults and young children.

While around 2.5 million people have had a flu jab to date, there are still thousands of eligible people that have not taken up their free vaccine, placing themselves at an increased risk of serious illness. Earlier this month, NHS England -North West launched a ‘Jabuary’ campaign to remind people it is not too late to get their winter vaccines, which continue to be offered at GP practices and community pharmacies across the region.

Vaccination leads are particularly concerned about flu uptakein 2-3 year olds, which has fallen behind last years’ figures in the North West and nationally. The latest data shows that 36.2% of 2-3s in the North West have received their vaccine so far this year (34.3% of 2 year olds, 38.1% of 3 year olds), compared to 42.3% this time last year (40.2% of 2 year olds, 44.4% of 3 year olds).

Pregnant women, especially those who may have missed out as they weren’t pregnant earlier in the flu season, are also encouraged to come forwards for the flu vaccine to protect themselves and their unborn baby.

Julie Kelly, Interim Regional Director of Primary Care and Public Health Commissioning at NHS England – North West, said: “This winter we have seen levels of flu at their highest since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and with so many people in hospital with the virus, it’s more vital than ever to come forward for your flu jab if you’re eligible.

“The NHS in the North West has been able to give around 2.5 million people the protection from flu, thanks to staff working hard across the region.

“If you have yet to come forward for a flu jab, please do as soon as you can, to protect yourself and your loved ones. You can have your flu vaccine at your GP practice, or at one of the hundreds of pharmacies across the North West participating in the flu vaccination programme this winter.”

Those eligible for the flu jab include all people aged 50 and over, health and social care workers, people aged six months and over and considered “at risk” because of another medical condition, as well as pregnant women and children aged two and three.

Children are able to receive their vaccination through a nasal spray and are encouraged to get the vaccine to not only protect themselves but also help to reduce transmission to others at risk.

Secondary school aged children are being vaccinated this month through schools and community clinics. If parents and guardians think their reception and primary school aged children have missed their flu vaccination, they should contact their local school-aged vaccination service or ask at their school if you are unsure.

Categories: Health