12:09PM, Friday 28 August 2020
Residents who are eligible for flu jabs are being urged to get vaccinated to protect themselves, the community and the NHS.
The importance of taking a flu vaccination has been heightened this year with the threat of COVID-19 set to continue into the winter months.
Figures from the BBC’s Shared Data Unit showed that take up of the vaccine by vulnerable people aged 65 or under has fallen by 4.1 per cent in the Royal Borough over the past five years.
In 2020, only 45.7 per cent of people in this age group living with a serious health condition have been vaccinated with the World Health Organisation saying this number should be closer to 75 per cent.
Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill), the borough’s cabinet member for health, said: “Every year we know the NHS and social care will be put under significant pressure during the winter months.
“Given the season we’re going into, because we’ll effectively have two very potent infectious diseases circulating at the same time, it is critical that anyone who is eligible for the vaccination does get vaccinated.”
Last month the Government announced its plans to make free flu jabs available to all people aged 50 to 64 later this year.
Jabs are also set to be made available to all school year groups up to year 7 and households of those on the shielded patient list.
Cllr Carroll, who has a professional background in epidemiology and infectious diseases, said the threat of influenza shouldn’t be underestimated and ‘the best insurance policy’ is to get vaccinated.
He added: “I think there is an issue with people not seeing influenza as severe as it is.
“It can lead to death, it can lead to hospitalisation, it is not a pleasant infection disease by any stretch of the imagination.
“One of the real dangers with influenza is it can lead to complications.
“It can lead to respiratory complications which from a health point of view becomes very serious.”
He added: “The name of the game here is not just to protect yourself but to stop onwards transmission.
“If you’re vaccinated and protected you can’t spread the virus onto someone else.”
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