Redbridge’s vulnerable urged to get flu jab
PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 October 2011 | UPDATED: 11:35 09 October 2011
Doctors are warning the most vulnerable in Redbridge to get the flu jab after the government dropped a high profile national awareness campaign.
NHS Outer North East London (ONEL) launched its own Flu Safe media campaign last week, encouraging those in at risk groups to get their free inoculation against the virus.
The jab is most effective if received this month as it gives the body time to prepare itself before the peak influenza onslaught in November and December.
Dr Mehul Mathukia, who has a surgery in Ilford Lane, Ilford, said people must not see flu as just a “common” cold, adding: “Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse.
“In the most serious cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital – it can even be a killer.”
He added: “If you’re in any of the at risk groups, the flu jab is completely free, and is a safe way of protecting you and your family in a matter of minutes.”
People classified as belonging to an at risk group are over-65s, pregnant women, and those with long-term health conditions.
Medical professionals are also being offered the injection free of charge.
This year health secretary Andrew Lansley said there was “no additional merit” in running a national campaign of television ads and encouraged GPs to contact their patients instead.
A British Medical Association spokesman said: “It is essential that at-risk groups understand the importance of having the flu vaccine.
“In the absence of a national campaign, it is essential local areas develop systems to target these groups.”
The Flu Safe campaign, devised by NHS ONEL, will now be rolled out across London and will feature on buses, posters, on the radio and in newspapers.
It will carry mythbusters that aim to dispel common misconceptions about the flu virus.
For more information visit your local GP, pharmacist or visit www.nhs.uk/flu.