Sir Trevor McDonald has joined forces with the NHS in North West London to launch a major campaign encouraging those aged 65 and over and others at risk to have their flu vaccinations.
The campaign comes as Britain is warned to brace itself for a “pressurised flu season” this winter, following the worst flu season in years in Australia and New Zealand.
Sir Trevor McDonald visited the Feltham Centre for Health in Hounslow, West London, to have his flu jab and encourage others to have theirs.
“I’ve agreed to be photographed having my flu jab today because my GP has advised me that it helps to protect not just myself, but the people around me,” said Sir Trevor.
“This year it’s more important than ever because of the heavy flu season being reported overseas. And if you’re 65 or over, it’s free.”
“Don’t put it off. Contact your GP or pharmacist to arrange your flu jab.”
Sir Trevor McDonald has had his flu vaccination every year for the past ten years.
The flu vaccination is also free for other people at risk from the flu including pregnant women and people suffering from an underlying health condition like COPD, asthma, diabetes, heart or kidney disease, or after a stroke. Flu on top of health conditions like these can easily develop into something very serious.
The Chief Medical Officer has warned that flu, and complications associated with it, cause 8000 deaths on average a year in England1.
Children aged two and three on August 31 2017 and children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four are eligible for the free flu nasal spray. It can help protect children from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others.
NHS and public health leads are encouraging people in these groups and their carers to contact their GP or pharmacist to arrange their free flu jab.
Visit www.healthiernorthwestlondon.nhs.uk for more information about how to stay well this winter.
Notes to editors
- (Green, H; Andrews N; Flemins, D; Zambon, M and Peabody, R. Mortality Attributable to Influenza in England and Wales prior to, during and after the 2009 Pandemic. 2013. PLOS. Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/figure?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0079360.g002 [Accessed on 5 September 2017])
People with respiratory diseases like COPD, emphysema or asthma are seven times more likely to die if they catch flu, and people with cardiovascular problems like chronic heart disease or angina, or have had a stroke, are 11 times more likely compared to those who don’t. The risk is far worse for those with chronic liver disease, who are 48 times more likely to die if they get flu.
(Green Book, Chapter 19. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/456568/2904394_Green_Book_Chapter_19_v10_0.pdf.)
- Another way of protecting vulnerable adults is to vaccinate children, who are ‘super-spreaders’ of the virus. Last year’s flu vaccination programme reduced the risk of flu in children who received the vaccine by 65%.3. For healthy children aged 2-8 in North West London, the flu vaccine is given in the form of a nasal spray, administered by a health professional.
- The national flu campaign will also encourage pregnant women to protect themselves against flu in the run up to winter. Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result, flu can cause serious complications for the mother and baby.
- For the first time, year 4 children will be offered the vaccine in a school setting, along with children in reception and years 1, 2 and 3. Evidence shows this method ensures greater uptake of the vaccine, and consequently offers greater population protection through herd immunity.
- Children aged 2-3 are offered the flu vaccine in GP surgeries.