Chief Medical Officer encourages Flu Jabs

Professor Dame Sally Davies

People who have a liver disease, heart or chest problems, neurological conditions, those aged 65 or over and all pregnant women are among the groups being urged to make an appointment with their GP to have a flu jab if they haven’t already done so.

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, is reminding everyone in an at risk group to come forward and join the estimated seven million people who have already had the vaccine this year.

Latest figures published today show that:

  • 55 per cent (5.1 million) of people aged 65 or over;
  • 32 per cent (1.8 million) of people under the age of 65 in at risk groups
  • 14 per cent (51,000) of pregnant women

have had the vaccine this year.

The Chief Medical Officer has said that she wants to see 75 per cent of the 65 years and older group and 60 per cent of under 65s in at risk groups get vaccinated this year.

And to encourage take up of the vaccine, Dame Sally is making clear that the vaccine does not give people the flu. This follows a recent poll for the Department of Health, which showed that 58 per cent of people wrongly believe that the flu jab actually gives people the flu.

Dame Sally said:

“I can categorically state that the flu jab does not give you flu. The vaccine does not include the live virus.

“It can save your life though. Flu can kill – and it can be particularly dangerous for people in at risk groups. They are on average 11 times more likely to die from flu than a healthy person is.

“If you haven’t been called for a flu jab and are in an at risk group, it’s time to contact your GP to make an appointment. If you’re in an at risk group, it’s free on the NHS.”

People in an at risk group are more likely to die if they get flu than a “healthy” person.  In particular:

  • people with diabetes are 6 times more likely to die if they get flu than a “healthy” person;
  • people with chronic heart disease are 11 times more likely to die if they get flu that a “healthy” person;
  • people with chronic respiratory disease are 7 times more likely to die if they get flu than a “healthy” person;
  • people with chronic renal disease are 19 times more likely to die if they get flu than a “healthy” person;
  • people with chronic liver disease are 48 times more likely to die if they get flu than a “healthy” person;
  • people undergoing medical treatment who may have a compromised immune system are 47 times more likley to die if they get flu than a “healthy” person; and
  • people with a neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy are 40 times more likely to die if they get flu than a “healthy” person.

Everyone who falls into the following groups is advised to have the flu vaccine:

  • people aged 65 years or over;
  • pregnant women in any stage of pregnancy;
  • people living in a residential or nursing home; or
  • the main carer for an older or disabled person.

People with the following conditions are also advised to have the flu vaccine:

  • a heart problem;
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties including, bronchitis, emphysema;
  • a kidney disease;
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment);
  • a liver disease;
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA);
  • diabetes;
  • a neurological condition e.g. multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy; and
  • a problem with, or removal of, your spleen e.g. sickle cell disease.

The flu vaccine is free to everyone in these groups.

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 

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  2 comments for “Chief Medical Officer encourages Flu Jabs

  1. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    November 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I started getting my annual flu jab nine years ago after a severe asthma attack put me in an acute respiratory ward for 10 days.
    Of course it’s mainly the old ‘uns queuing up for their jab so when I first started they used to say ‘You go on ahead sonny, we are here for a flu jab’
    ‘So am I ‘ I would say…these last few years nobody queries it anymore #gettingold

  2. November 3, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    I’ve never had a Flu Jab myself.

    My Grandad was one of those who used to swear that he always had a mild dose of flu after having his jab, so I found it interesting to see the Chief Medical Officer reasurring us otherwise.

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