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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Beat the Flu This Winter

Friday, 25 October 2019

This week I booked my annual flu vaccination.  I would encourage anybody reading this to do the same.

Most people know that the flu can cause fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain and extreme tiredness; an unpleasant and limiting experience but one that you eventually recover from. In some cases however, it can turn into something far more dangerous.  Last year across England almost 3,000 people were admitted into hospital intensive care units due to the flu, of which 273 did not recover. As the night draws in and the weather gets colder, it’s a timely reminder to get your vaccination to protect you against flu.

This year, as always, those in vulnerable groups are eligible to receive their flu vaccinations for free. These include; adults over the age of 65, people with a learning disability or long-term health condition, pregnant women, children aged 2 or 3 on 21st August 2019, all primary school aged children, carers for older or disabled people, and household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed.

There are a number of ways you can get your flu vaccination. The most common way for adults and children alike is going through their local GP practice, although adults can also choose to get their vaccination from a participating pharmacist instead. Primary school –aged children will receive the vaccination at schools – parents just need to remember to sign and return the consent forms. People who work in health and social care are also encouraged to have the flu vaccination, the cost of which will usually be covered by their employer, to protect both themselves and the people they care for. In addition to getting the vaccination, there are also a number of common sense precautions that can be taken to avoid catching or passing on the virus, such as washing your hands, staying at home if you’re sick, and using a tissue to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Over the next few months the council will be working closely with the Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group, the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, and Public Health England to make sure everybody gets the free flu vaccination that they’re entitled to. I’ve heard a number of myths that have stopped people from getting theirs in the past, and I want to use this opportunity to set the record straight.

The first myth is that the flu vaccine doesn’t actually work. Due to the fact that the virus that causes flu is constantly changing, it’s true there’s no such thing as a 100% guarantee that you’ll be flu-free. That’s also the reason why we recommend people should have the flu vaccine every year, as new vaccines are produced to fight new strains of flu. But even if you do catch the flu despite being vaccinated, it’s likely to be a lot milder and shorter-lived than it otherwise would have been.

The second myth I’ve heard is that getting the vaccine can itself potentially give you the flu. The injected flu vaccine cannot cause flu because it contains no active viruses. All flu vaccines have also been thoroughly tested before they’re allowed to be used. In some cases, the vaccine can cause minor side effects such a discomfort around the jab area, or a low-level fever or achiness. These can get you down for a couple of days, but they’re not the flu.

So, please make sure that you get your free flu jab if you’re entitled to it, because you were offered it for a reason. Even if you have to pay for your vaccination I would encourage you to get one anyway. Not only will you be taking care of yourself, you’ll also be taking care of everybody around you. Let’s make sure that a record number of people in Tameside can beat the flu and stay well this winter.


Posted by: Executive Leader

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