The Royal Borough has teamed up once again this year with NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group in backing a national drive to help people stay well over the colder months. NHS England’s campaign Stay Well This Winter also coincides with a national flu vaccination programme for children – the largest of its kind to date.
This year the programme seeks to help over three million children aged two to six years, thanks to an extension of the programme to cover children in Years 1 and 2. This means that, for the first time, all our youngest primary school children will be eligible to receive the free nasal spray vaccine, making this the largest school-based vaccination programme in England involving children in 17,000 schools.
As in previous years, the adult flu vaccine is also available free to residents in groups at particular risk of infection and complications from flu. The groups being offered the adult flu vaccine include pregnant women, over 65s, under 65s with long-term conditions and carers.
As well as protecting against flu, the NHS Stay Well This Winter campaign urges people over 65 - along with those who have long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease or respiratory illness - to prepare for winter with advice on how to ward off common illnesses. The campaign contains all the help and advice residents need to stay well over the colder months – for further information, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell or speak to your GP.
Cllr Denise Scott-MacDonald, the Royal Borough’s Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing and Public Health said: “The Royal Borough is committed to working with Public Health England and the NHS to help keep vulnerable residents safe, warm and well over the winter months.
“We are supporting the annual vaccination programme which has now been rolled out across the borough and I urge residents who are eligible to speak to their GP and get a flu shot.”
Dr Ellen Wright, a local GP and Chair of NHS Greenwich CCG, said: “Anyone over the age of 65 or with an existing health problem should also make sure they get the flu jab as flu can make the effects of existing conditions worse and make complications like pneumonia more likely. The flu vaccination will help protect you from and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others."
Dr Wright added: “If you have children aged two, three or four, or in school years one and two, don’t put off taking up their free flu vaccination. The nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way for children to be protected without the need for injections. Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles.”
Parents of children aged two, three or four should speak to their GP about getting the nasal spray vaccination for their child. The nasal spray vaccine is not licensed for children aged less than two years. However, young children will benefit from the reduced risk of being exposed to older children with flu – with the hope that the extended vaccination programme will reduce the risk of being exposed to older children with flu.
To find your local GP visit www.greenwichccg.nhs.uk and select ‘your services’.
For more information about the nasal spray vaccination and the flu jab visit www.nhs.uk/staywell