Pensioners urged to protect themselves and get the flu vaccine

Older people in Kent and Medway are being reminded to make sure they have their free flu vaccine.

Everyone over the age of 65 can have the annual vaccine, which is available from your GP, practice nurse or at your local pharmacy.

Older people are much more likely to become seriously ill or develop complications such as pneumonia if they develop flu.

Dr Alison Milroy, NHS England South East Deputy Medical Director and a Kent GP, said: “The risk of serious illness from flu and possible hospitalisation is higher among those aged 65 years and older as they are more likely to have an underlying health problem and their immune system may not work as well.”

Retired Kent fire officer Clifford White has the vaccine every year. The 82 year old from Maidstone said: “I want to do everything I can to look after my health and I know the best way for me to protect myself from the flu is to have the vaccination.”

Flu is highly infectious and caused by viruses that spread from person to person. The viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually. The symptoms, which can come on very quickly, included fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles and extreme tiredness.

Kent County Council Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “Elderly people and those living with a health condition such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints are particularly at risk from serious consequences of flu. In the worst cases, it can result in a stay in hospital, and it can even be fatal. It isn’t too late to get your free jab from your GP or local pharmacist and people really need to come forward now to make sure they can enjoy a happy, healthy Christmas and New Year.”

Other groups at risk of complications from flu and urged to get the vaccine include pregnant women and people with long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes, respiratory problems and kidney and liver disease.

People can book GP appointments through the GP Online Service provided by NHS England. You can find out more about this service by visiting www.nhs.uk

Caption: Clifford White is vaccinated at The Mote Medical Practice in Loose.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

The free flu vaccine is available to anyone who is pregnant; or has one of the following conditions; a heart problem; a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma; a kidney disease; lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment); liver disease; had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA); diabetes or a neurological condition e.g. multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy or learning disability. Children aged 2 to 7 years, and adults aged 65 years and older.

Media enquiries:

Please call Tasha Gardner, Communications and Engagement Manager, NHS England (South East) on 0113 825 1447 or 07568 431 738 or tashagardner@nhs.net

Gemma Smith at KCC Media Centre on 03000 416699 or e-mail gemma.smith@kent.gov.uk

Pensioners urged to protect themselves and get the flu vaccine was last modified: November 29th, 2016 by Gemma Smith