The ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign, a joint NHS and Public Health England initiative, has launched with the national flu vaccination programme now available nationwide to all eligible people. The campaign will help the most vulnerable people in Kirklees prepare for winter and avoid having to visit hospital due to common winter illnesses.

People in Kirklees who are the most vulnerable to flu are being urged to get their free flu vaccine, ahead of the winter period when the virus is most common. The programme’s launch coincides with the Chief Medical Officer’s warning that flu, and complications associated with it, causes 8,000 deaths on average a year in England.

Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, Kirklees Council said:

“I would encourage anyone who is at increased risk from the effects of flu to take advantage of this free vaccine which is available for children aged 2-8, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with long term health conditions.”

People with respiratory diseases like COPD, emphysema or asthma are seven times more likely to die if they catch flu. Those with cardiovascular problems like chronic heart disease or angina, or who have had a stroke, are 11 times more likely, compared to those without such conditions. The risk is far worse for those with chronic liver disease, who are 48 times more likely to die if they get flu.

Dr Steve Ollerton local GP and Clinical Leader of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, said:

“Another way of protecting vulnerable adults is to vaccinate children who are ‘super-spreaders’ of the virus. Last year’s flu vaccination programme reduced the risk of flu in children who received the vaccine by 65%. For healthy children aged 2 to 8 in Kirklees, the flu vaccine is given in the form of a nasal spray, administered by a health professional.”

With more people eligible than ever before and the vaccine available in more locations, it’s easy for people to protect themselves and those around them against this potentially deadly virus. Taking a few minutes to get the jab could save your life this winter. If you’re eligible for the flu vaccine get it now – it’s free because you need it.

Contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife to the get the flu vaccine – it can help you and your family Stay Well This Winter.