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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Flu jab reminder for at risk patients

11 October 2010

People in Jersey with medical conditions that put them at risk from seasonal flu (influenza) are being reminded to go to their GP to be vaccinated against the virus.

Flu is more likely to cause serious respiratory infections in those at risk. These include:

  • pregnant women
  • people aged over 65

and those with the following conditions:

  • heart problems, liver or kidney disease
  • chest complaints or breathing difficulties including bronchitis or emphysema
  • diabetics on medication
  • lowered immunity either due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
  • people who have had strokes or have a neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
  • people who have a problem with their spleen or who have had it removed

The UK Chief Medical Officer is recommending people in these groups receive the annual flu vaccination this year to reduce their chance of developing pneumonia (an infection of the lungs) and being admitted to hospital.

Consultant Microbiologist Dr Ivan Muscat said “Flu is spread by sneezing, coughing and contact with the virus on surfaces. It is important that people wash their hands regularly and use tissues when sneezing or coughing and dispose of them afterwards to reduce the spread of flu and other respiratory infections. Seasonal flu vaccines offer the best and most specific protection against flu for those with health conditions that put them at risk.”

Flu vaccines provide between 70% and 80% protection against matched circulating strains of the virus. The vaccine cannot cause the flu. As the inactivated virus used in the vaccine is grown in eggs, people with a severe egg allergy should not be immunised. 

Dr Muscat said “Millions of doses of flu vaccine have been given over the years. We know the vaccine is safe. Some people may experience redness at the injection site of the arm after the vaccine has been given and occasionally (between 1 in 10 to 1 in 100) patients may have a slight temperature.”

Many GP practices put on flu vaccination clinics at this time of year. Islanders with health conditions that put them at risk from flu are advised to telephone their surgery for further information.

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