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Wednesday 17 November 2010

Seasonal Flu Vaccination


Don’t underestimate seasonal flu – that’s the message from Cheshire East Council as winter approaches.

There are concerns that older people may be putting themselves at risk by not getting themselves vaccinated against the highly-infectious disease.

The warning comes as figures from Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust show the number of over 65s choosing to have the flu vaccine is down 10 per cent on what would be expected at this stage of the programme.

One explanation for the reduced uptake rate may be the ‘swine flu effect’ from last year, where, unfortunately, older people received mixed messages about the swine flu virus. Some media coverage may have indicated that the flu virus only affected young people and was not severe.

There have also been unfounded concerns about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. The vaccine, which does not contain live viruses, IS safe and proven to protect against flu.

This year’s flu vaccine will protect against the H1N1 virus strain (swine flu) as it is predicted to be one of the most likely flu strains in circulation this winter.

It is important older people are protected from flu as they are particularly vulnerable and are more at risk of developing complications. This not only affects the person’s wellbeing and independence, but also can lead to additional pressures on health and social care services.

Over the last few years the number of people receiving the vaccine has been high. This has meant that confirmed outbreaks in the community have not spread to older people.

Councillor Andrew Knowles, Cabinet member with responsibility for health and wellbeing, said: “It is important that people don’t become complacent about the very serious risk to public health that flu poses.

“I hope people will heed this warning and get themselves vaccinated.”

Councillor Jim Crockatt, ward member for Wilmslow North, said: “I have had the vaccine to keep myself healthy over the winter period for a number of years and I would urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible for the flu vaccination to speak to their GP or primary care nurse.

“It is a very simple procedure which will benefit your health and the wider health of everybody in Cheshire East.”

For further information about the flu vaccination please contact Dr Guy Hayhurst, consultant in public health, Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust, on 01606 275319 or email

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