Sharon Hodgson MP reminds all those at risk of seasonal flu in Sunderland to get their flu vaccination this winter.
MPs and Peers were invited to attend a flu vaccine clinic held in the House of Commons on "Westminster Flu Day" (14th October 2015), to help encourage their constituents to get this season’s flu vaccine in line with Government recommendations.
Parliamentarians who would not be eligible for a free seasonal flu vaccine on the NHS made a £10 donation to the Carers Trust. £10 is equivalent to the cost of a private vaccination.
Around 50% of at-risk people and 25% of people over the age of 65 in Sunderland were not vaccinated against flu last year, even though they were eligible for a free flu vaccine on the NHS. This compares to around 50% nationally of at-risk patients and 27% of people over the age of 65. (1)
Sharon Hodgson MP said “I am urging everyone who is eligible to receive a free flu vaccine on the NHS to go and get vaccinated. Seasonal flu is highly infectious and can lead to serious complications or even death. Elderly people are especially vulnerable to this infection, so it’s very important they get their vaccinations as soon as possible."
"Through the great work of our NHS, medical organisations and charities, and through initiatives like Westminster Flu Day, the message of the importance of flu vaccinations can reach as many people as possible, and hopefully this will help save lives.”
Each year, flu can put a considerable burden on NHS resources, with numerous GP consultations and hospitalisations. The timing, extent and severity of influenza seasons is unpredictable and intermittent epidemics can cause significant illness and mortality. (2)
The Department of Health (DH) recommends free flu vaccinations in England for those aged 65 or over; and for people with certain chronic conditions such as chronic respiratory, heart, liver, neurological and kidney disease; diabetes; weakened immune systems; splenic dysfunction; as well as people living in long-stay facilities such as nursing and residential homes; carers of elderly or disabled people; pregnant women; children aged two, three and four; household contacts of immunocompromised individuals; healthcare professionals are also encouraged to have the vaccination. (3)
Almost 50% of people with a serious medical condition, 30% of people over the age of 65, 60% of preschool children, 45% of healthcare workers, 55% of carers known to GPs and 55% of pregnant women did not have a flu vaccine last year nationally, despite the fact that the consequences of not having a flu vaccine for these groups of people can be serious. (4)
Westminster Flu Day is an established event in the Parliamentary calendar. It is sponsored by the ABPI Vaccine Group in partnership with the Royal College of GPs and Carers Trust and with the support of the Department of Health and Public Health England.
Current Flu Vaccination Policy in England (see note 5)
About ABPI Vaccine Group
The ABPI Vaccine Group is committed to advocating on behalf of the industry on all aspects of vaccination and the benefits it brings to the health of our nation. The Group aims to work in partnership with the public health community throughout the four nations of the UK to encourage the continued and further success of the national immunisation programmes.
Westminster Flu Day was supported by the following companies:
• Novartis Influenza Vaccines
1. PHE Flu Letter 2015/16 p3 www.gov.uk
2. Public Health England, Surveillance of Influenza and other respiratory viruses in the UK:
Winter 2014-2015 p12 and p14 www.gov.uk
3. PHE Flu Letter 2015/16 p7 www.gov.uk
4. PHE Flu Letter 2015/16 p3 www.gov.uk
5. PHE Flu Letter 2015/16 p7 www.gov.uk