12 December 2019
More than 26,000 islanders have already been vaccinated since the beginning of October. This includes over 8,500 children who received the nasal flu vaccine at their school, nursery or GP surgery. Doctors are urging people to get the flu vaccination if they haven’t already done so, especially if they are in a vulnerable group.
Dr Ivan Muscat, Consultant Microbiologist at the Hospital, warned that off-island travel during the festive period means islanders are more likely to catch flu as they come into contact with increased numbers of people whilst travelling through UK airports.
Dr Muscat said: "We usually see rates of flu infection go up after the Christmas holiday period, particularly when people return to the island in the New Year. If you haven’t had your flu vaccine yet, please go and get protected. The vaccine cannot give you flu and apart from an achy arm for a day or two, which can happen with any injection, getting vaccinated isn’t going to make you ill. Whilst flu vaccination cannot offer 100% protection because the flu virus is unpredictable it is by far the best protection we have."
Dr Linda Diggle, Head of Preventive Programmes, said: "Flu vaccine is still available via GP practices and community pharmacies, however you need to get it promptly if you haven’t yet been protected. Flu vaccine is free if you are pregnant. For people aged 65 and over, and for working age adults with an underlying health condition, you’ll be charged £10 to get the vaccine at your surgery or local pharmacy.
Working age adults are considered vulnerable if they have, or they take medication for, any of the following health conditions:
- chronic heart disease
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic respiratory disease or asthma
- chronic liver disease
- chronic neurological disease e.g. Parkinson’s disease or stroke
- having a BMI of more than 40
- diabetes Type 1 or Type 2 requiring insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs or diet-controlled
- having a suppressed immune system due to disease or treatment such as chemotherapy
- having no spleen or spleen dysfunction
Vaccine is also available privately if you don’t fall into one of the vulnerable groups.