PETER HEATON-JONES MP URGES PEOPLE IN NORTH DEVON TO GET FLU JAB

PETER HEATON-JONES MP URGES PEOPLE IN NORTH DEVON TO GET FLU JAB

North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones has joined England’s health chiefs in urging residents, particularly older people, to take up their free NHS flu vaccination before winter sets in.

This year, people aged 65 and over are being given a new vaccine which is designed to boost the body’s immune response, improving its effectiveness.  The last batches of the vaccine were delivered to GPs and pharmacies across the country this week ahead of the flu season, which usually starts in December.

Health chiefs believe that the new vaccine could reduce GP consultations by 30,000 and prevent over 700 hospital deaths in England, alleviating some of the strain that seasonal flu places on the NHS.

56,588 older people across Devon didn’t take up their jab last year, despite being most vulnerable to flu’s effects. Many of those will have caught the virus and needed NHS treatment as a result.

Peter Heaton-Jones said: “If you’re 65 and over, the single most important thing you can do to stay well this winter is to take up your free NHS flu jab.

“GPs and pharmacies in North Devon should now have more than enough stock to ensure that everyone eligible can be vaccinated before the start of the flu season, so if you haven’t had chance yet, or stocks had run low when you tried earlier in the Autumn, now is the time to go get protected.” 

Professor Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer for England said: “This is the biggest flu vaccination programme we have ever undertaken offering more people than ever the greatest opportunity to help protect themselves.

“With all vaccines now despatched to GPs and pharmacies, we are urging those who have not yet had their flu jab to get it as soon as possible.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said: “Flu can kill and the vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and those around you.

“More vaccines than ever before are now available and I strongly encourage everyone in a vulnerable group to contact their GP or pharmacy and get the jab.”

More information on eligibility for the flu jab, and other tips on staying well this winter, can be found at www.nhs.uk/staywell