Health and care chiefs from across
the North East and North Cumbria are asking people to #DoYourBit to
protect yourself, your loved ones and your community by having a
free flu vaccination this winter.
The plea comes as the region starts
its biggest ever flu vaccination programme with more people
eligible for the free vaccine this year and amid concerns the
months ahead could be tough in light of COVID-19.
Lead for the North East and North
Cumbria Flu Board and local GP, Dr Neil O'Brien, said: "This year
it's never been more important for people to take up the offer of a
free flu vaccination. Flu spreads easily, it can be very serious
and even kill.
"For some people flu can be as
serious as COVID-19 and those most at risk from flu are also more
vulnerable to COVID-19. Having the flu vaccination is still the
most safe and effective way of protecting yourself and others. And
contrary to what people think the vaccine doesn't give you
"Like COVID-19 - you can have no flu
symptoms but you are still able to still spread flu to your friends
and family. So, not only is it important that people get the
vaccine but that they continue to wash their hands and socially
distance. If you sneeze - remember to catch it, bin it and kill it.
Doing all of these things will help to protect you from
Health and care organisations are
also reassuring the public that it's safe to have the vaccine -
with robust infection control and social distancing measures in
place across the region.
Neil added: "Because of COVID-19
things may look a bit different this year but wherever you receive
your flu vaccination our teams will be making sure that there are
strict infections control procedures in place so there is no need
to be worried about coming along for the vaccine.
"You will notice staff wearing some
PPE, such as a face mask, but it's also important for people who
are receiving their vaccine to do their bit by wearing a face
covering and follow rules on social distancing."
For the vast majority of people
across the region, the vaccination will be provided by GP practices
or pharmacies. Pregnant women will be offered the vaccination
through their maternity services and some patients may be offered
the vaccine while attending hospitals and other
Neil added: "In some cases
vaccinations may be given by someone different or somewhere
different - so that we don't have lots of people in waiting areas
and to ensure we get as many people vaccinated as possible. In some
areas we will be asking people not just to turn up but to check
arrangements being made by their GP practice or pharmacist
The annual vaccine works by boosting
antibodies, helping the body to fight off the virus, and it is free
for people who are at increased risk from the effects of flu. The
vaccine is safe and doesn't give you flu. Some people may
experience a mild fever, up to 48 hours after having their jab, as
their immune system responds to the vaccine, but this is not
You should have the flu vaccine if
vaccine is also free on the NHS for some children including those
aged 2-3 years, all primary aged school children and year 7 pupils.
Young children are able to spread the virus for up to 10 days so it
is important to have them vaccinated to protect older more
vulnerable members of the community. Parents are being asked to
look out for information about the vaccination programme and to
sign the consent form which will give permission for their child to
have the vaccine at school.
28th Sept 2020
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community