The annual national campaign to encourage people in eligible groups to have the free NHS flu vaccination and protect themselves from the illness is being launched today (Thursday October 9 2014).
‘Beat Flu’ aims to ensure that the people who need it most get protection each year against the flu. This includes everyone aged 65 and over, people with certain long term health conditions and pregnant women.
Carers, volunteers providing care or providing first aid in organised public events, as well as Community First Responders, are also entitled to the vaccine, which is delivered as a small injection in the arm.
After the success of last year’s pilot campaign for children, the nasal spray flu vaccine for children is this year also being rolled out to all four year olds, as well as those aged two or three years old, and school year 7 pupils. The younger children will have the spray in their GP practice and Year 7 children will receive their nasal spray vaccine in school.
Vaccination clinics are taking place across the health board area and Nicola John, Director of Public Health, is urging all those who are eligible to have the flu jab.
Nicola John said, “Flu can kill. The vaccine is one of the safest in the world so if you are in an at risk group, including NHS staff, I’d encourage you to take this opportunity to protect yourself. It won’t only protect you, but it will help to protect your families and friends too.”
Last year, over two thirds (66.3%) of those aged 65 or over had their vaccination across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf but only half (51.4%) of people in ‘at risk’ groups under the age of 65 with long term illnesses, protected themselves.
The Beat Flu campaign is led by Public Health Wales and will be active from now until December.