Blackburn with Darwen health bosses are calling on those at greatest risk from flu to protect themselves and their families with a free flu jab.
As the autumn sets in and winter approaches, it’s time for people to make sure they get the vaccine as this year’s flu campaign gets underway.
Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some. Those at greater risk include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes.
And for the first time this year, young children aged two and three will be offered a nasal spray vaccine to protect them against flu. Young children’s close contact with each other means they are more likely to transmit the virus to other more vulnerable groups.
The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year. The jab doesn’t contain the ‘live’ virus so it cannot give you the flu.
The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from October to early November, so it’s good to get in early in time for the winter.
Contact your GP to arrange a convenient appointment and get your jab. It’s quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.
Councillor Mohammed Khan, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “If you aged 65 or over, are pregnant, have lowered immunity or a long term health condition such as severe asthma, a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes it is really important to get vaccinated. The flu jab is completely safe, and it can’t give you flu. If you’re in any of the ’at risk’ groups contact your GP surgery as soon as possible and make an appointment.”
Linda Newsham, Blackburn with Darwen Head of Health Protection, said: “Flu is not like a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some and it doesn’t just affect older people. Symptoms of flu can be very unpleasant and can last for several days – flu can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia and bronchitis which need hospital treatment.”
Dr Pervez Muzaffar, a Darwen GP and Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group Lead for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Flu is a nasty disease which can have serious consequences for people in at risk groups. If you have long-term health conditions, we would urge you to make an appointment at your GP surgery for the vaccination as soon as possible. It is also very important that your children are vaccinated if they are two or three years old. This will help to prevent the spread of the disease. “
He further explained about the concerns raised in Muslim and Jewish communities as Fluenz for children contains porcine gelatine. The World Health Organisation has previously consulted with more than 100 Muslim Scholars and confirmed that the gelatine used is considered Halal and there is no religious reason not to receive vaccination. Transformation during the manufacturing process changes substances that are judicially impure into pure substances, and changes substances that are prohibited into lawful and permissible substances. Despite the above consensus, if parents or carers still do not wish their child to receive the Fluenz vaccine they may be offered a licenced inactivated intramuscular injection.