- October 10, 2017
- Posted by: Vikki Howells MS
- Category: Latest News
Vikki Howells AM is urging all Cynon Valley residents who are eligible for the free influenza (flu) vaccine to protect themselves and those around them this autumn.
With vaccination being the best protection against catching or spreading influenza, the Cynon Valley AM is supporting calls from Public Health Wales for those in at-risk groups to make an appointment with their local GP or go to their community pharmacy and get the free flu vaccine as soon as possible.
Groups most at risk from this debilitating and possibly deadly illness include pregnant women, people with certain long-term illnesses, those aged 65 or over and carers.
Vikki Howells AM said:
“The Beat Flu campaign is underway throughout Wales to offer flu vaccines to those most at risk of serious complications from influenza, and my message to eligible Cynon Valley residents is make sure it’s at the top of your to-do list during the autumn months.
“Last year in Wales less than half (47%) of those in at-risk groups under the age of 65 took up their free NHS flu vaccination, and we really need to significantly increase the numbers of people being vaccinated in order to halt the spread of this largely preventable illness.
“It is also vital for parents to make sure their children are protected. Children aged two to eight years can receive a simple nasal spray flu vaccine at school, or from their GP if pre-school age – no needle is involved”.
Dr Richard Roberts, Head of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme at Public Health Wales, said:
“Each year influenza viruses circulate, causing many people to be ill and some to face life-threatening situations. Last year in intensive care units in Wales there were 74 patients with confirmed influenza.
“The influenza viruses change regularly and vaccine protection fades over time, so if you are in a risk group and had the vaccine last year, it is still important to get vaccinated again this year to protect yourself this winter.
“Getting vaccinated against flu every year is the single best way to protect against catching or spreading what is a potentially debilitating illness”.
The flu virus is spread easily via droplets which are sprayed into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with contaminated hands or surfaces can also spread infection. It can spread rapidly, especially in closed communities such as hospitals, residential homes and schools.
To find out more about how to get your free vaccine visit www.beatflu.org or find Beat Flu on twitter and facebook.