Cornwall’s chief GP has urged people to get free shots against the life-saving flu – which is now available at local GP’s offices.
The flu is a very contagious virus which anyone can catch and which sets in very quickly.
NHS says this year it’s even more important to get a flu shot to protect yourself, protect others and help avoid the pressure that a seasonal flu spike could bring, in addition to Covid-19 and a sharp increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) predicted in children.
Some groups are more susceptible to the flu and its effects, so it is especially important that they are vaccinated. These groups – who can receive the vaccine for free – are:
• Aged 2 and 3 as of August 31, 2021
• School-aged children from year of reception to year 11
• Those aged 6 months to less than 50 years in clinical risk groups
• Pregnant women
• People aged 50 and over
• Those in long-term care homes
• Close contact with immunocompromised people
• Front-line health and social personnel
If you are in an eligible group for the Covid-19 vaccination booster, you may be able to do this at the same time as the flu vaccination in your GP office.
Dr Nick Rogers, chairman of the Kernow local medical committee, which represents general medicine in the county, said: “Vaccination is our first line of defense against influenza, which is unpleasant at best and potentially fatal at worst. The flu can worsen existing medical conditions, lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and be fatal in older and more vulnerable people.
“I recommend that people in ‘at risk’ groups and their caregivers get vaccinated at their local GP office before the virus begins to circulate in the community as it gets colder and winter approaches. .
“Getting the flu shot in your GP practice is the most convenient way to get vaccinated because we ensure continuity of care because we already know our patients, we have fully trained medical staff on site and we have a full registration with the Commission for the quality of care (CQC) regulator. We can also provide you with other vaccines for which you may be eligible at the same time.
“The vaccine is free for eligible groups and quick to administer. People should get the flu shot every year because it protects against different strains that are likely to be present in large numbers this year. ”
Dr Rogers, also a generalist partner at Falmouth Health Center, added: “By getting the flu shot, we can help each other protect each other from the virus and reduce the spread.
“The flu shot also helps ease the strain on local health services, leading to fewer avoidable GP appointments, fewer people requiring hospital care and fewer flu deaths. ”
Many GP practices will already be in contact with their most ‘at risk’ patients to arrange appropriate appointments and some will also hold special flu clinics in the evenings and weekends so people can tailor the schedule. vaccine to their daily life.
The vaccine is administered either by a general practitioner or by a trained member of the practice care team, who can also offer follow-up care, if necessary. Young children are vaccinated via a nasal spray – everyone else is given a rapid injection. Vaccinating children has a double benefit: Besides protecting them from the flu, it also protects others, such as grandparents and siblings, as children are much more likely to infect others.
Moms-to-be should be vaccinated regardless of the stage of their pregnancy. Those who are pregnant could get very sick if they get the flu, which could also be bad for their babies. The vaccine can also protect their baby against the flu after birth and during the first months of life. Your general practitioner or midwife will advise you.
Flu symptoms appear very quickly and can include fever, chills, cough, headache, joint and muscle pain, and extreme fatigue.
People who are otherwise fit and healthy usually do not need to see a doctor if they have flu-like symptoms and need to take care of themselves. At-risk groups who have flu-like symptoms may consider calling NHS 111 or their GP.
For more information on the flu, visit the NHS website at: