GP surgeries across Norfolk and Waveney are opening their doors to patients in a major drive to help people stay well this winter.
Patients who are eligible for free flu vaccinations are being encouraged to come forward.
As in previous years, young children can be offered the nasal spray vaccination with the adult flu vaccine offered for free to those in groups at particular risk of infection and complications from flu. The groups being offered the adult flu vaccine are:
- Pregnant women
- Those aged 65 or over
- Those aged under 65 with long-term conditions
The nasal spray vaccination is offered to the following groups of children free of charge;
- children aged two and three on August 31 2017 – that is, children born between September 1 2013 and August 31 2015
- children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four
- children aged 2 to 17 with long-term health conditions
GP surgeries in North Norfolk, South Norfolk and Norwich are also carrying out simple pulse checks, testing patients over the age of 65 for signs of irregular heartbeats also known as atrial fibrillation. People with atrial fibrillation are at a greater risk of developing heart problems or a stroke. Although flu vaccinations are available from other outlets it is only GP surgeries who are offering the additional check for abnormal heart rates at the same time.
In addition to the atrial fibrillation and flu vaccination applicable patients are able to receive pneumococcal vaccines protecting patients against the bacteria streptococcus pneumoniae. The vaccine can prevent some cases of pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. A pneumococcal infection can affect anyone. However, some people are at higher risk of serious illness and can be given the pneumococcal vaccination on the NHS. These include:
- adults aged 65 or over
- children and adults with certain long-term health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney condition
Dr Anoop Dhesi, Chair of North Norfolk CCG and Partner at Stalham Staithe GP Surgery said: “Flu can be incredibly unpleasant for many people but for a select few it can be fatal. The best way for people to protect themselves and loved ones around them is to get the vaccination on offer especially those offered it for free on the NHS.”
A previous pilot programme showed vaccinating children had dual benefit; as well as protecting them from flu, it also protects others, such as parents, grandparents and siblings, as children are ‘super spreaders’ and are much more likely to infect others.
Please call your local GP surgery to enquire about a flu vaccination now.