Get a jab and beat the flu, says health chief

Flu season is in full swing and Sheffield’s health chief is encouraging people to have jabs.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 12:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 2:39 pm
Pharmacist Dequan Pang gives Greg Fell a flu jab

Director of public health Greg Fell says people are far less likely to catch flu if they are immunised. He particularly wants to reach out to adults with learning disabilities and their carers.

Vulnerable people and those with long term medical conditions are entitled to free injections on the NHS but any adult can pay £9 for one at a pharmacy.

Mr Fell said: “We are in flu season now, it started in earnest about three weeks ago and it will peak in December and January. It’s never too late in winter to have a jab.

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“There is this myth about the vaccinations that they don’t work. Each year it varies but last year it was 80 per cent effective.

“You are far less likely to get the flu if you have a jab. They are not perfect but they are effective.”

Mr Fell said there are still a lot of adults who don’t get immunised.

“The folk that always slip through the net are those with learning disabilities and their carers. We don’t do as well with that group and we can always do better.

“Pregnant women, elderly people and vulnerable people should all have one and it’s important to have one too if you are a carer.

“We go to great lengths to get frontline health and social care workers vaccinated because they come into contact with vulnerable people.

“If you have an underlying long term condition you have a lot to gain – and even more to lose – if you don’t have a jab as flu can be very serious.”

One Sheffield primary school has seen its attendance levels drop to 88 per cent after a respiratory virus swept through pupils.

Mr Fell says people need to go back to basics to beat the bugs.

“The best tips are the old fashioned ones – wash your hands with soap and water, stay at home if you are poorly and catch, bin and kill germs with tissues. These are really important as it limits the spread of flu and colds.”