Aussie flu fears leads to flu jab warning from Suffolk doctors

Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG chairman Dr Mark Shenton recommends getting a flu jab
Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG chairman Dr Mark Shenton recommends getting a flu jab

Doctors are urging people to get a flu jab as a severer outbreak of flu is expected this winter.

GPs say for people in ‘at-risk’ groups, including over 65s, pregnant women and those with certain conditions, flu can have serious consequences, leading to existing health conditions getting worse or the development of an illness such as bronchitis or pneumonia. It is important for some young children to have the vaccination to prevent the spread of flu to at-risk family members.

People in these at-risk groups are entitled to a free flu vaccination from their GP practice. Some practices are offering walk-in clinics for eligible registered patients.

Dr Mark Shenton, chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Australia is currently in the grip of its worst flu outbreak on record. The global circulation of the virus means that the seriousness of this outbreak could be reflected in the UK over the winter months. In a country with around one-third of the population of the UK, Australia has already experienced more than 50 flu-related deaths and 1500 flu-related hospital admissions.

“It is more important than ever for vulnerable people to contact their GP practice and arrange to have a flu vaccination. By doing so you could avoid the deterioration of a long-term health condition, an unnecessary stay in hospital or even death. You’ll also be helping the already stretched NHS cope during the busy winter months.”

Dr Christopher Browning, chairman of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning group, said: “Getting protected is quick and simple and the vaccination will help protect you against this potentially serious condition.

”Don’t risk your health by declining this offer of protection.”

You are eligible for a free flu vaccination from your GP practice if you:

+Are aged 65 years or over

+Are pregnant

+Receive a carer’s allowance or are a carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

+Are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility

+Are aged between six months and 65 years and have a heart problem, a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment, liver disease, had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack(TIA), diabetes, a neurological condition or a problem with or removal of the spleen eg sickle cell disease

+Are a child born between 1 Sept 2013 – 31 August 2015 – plus children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four

For flu vaccination clinics in Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG click here

For flu vaccination clinics in West Suffolk CCG click here