Successful flu vaccine campaign sees more of the region’s most vulnerable get protected
Thousands of older people in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have helped make this year’s local flu vaccination campaign one of the most successful to date.
The 2021/22 season saw more people aged 65 and over came forward for the flu jab, which experts cite as the most robust defence against the virus, than during the previous winter.
Clinicians have thanked those who had the vaccine for not only helping to limit the spread of flu in the local community, but also for their role in keeping the virus out of the region’s hospitals.
Between September 2021 and March 2022, more than 86 per cent of all people aged 65 in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire received a flu vaccine, which is up around two per cent on last year.
There was also high uptake among people aged over 50, with around three quarters (72 per cent) having the vaccine.
Similarly, nearly half (47 per cent) of all pregnant women in the region got protected during the latest season.
Connie Timmins, Lead Nurse for Infection Prevention and Control, said: “We know that vaccines are very good at keeping people safe from illness, and we’re absolutely delighted by just how many people chose to roll up their sleeves this year.
“While having the jab protects the individual and those around them, doing so also helps to prevent further community transmission and the overall likelihood of vulnerable people needing to be admitted to hospital.
“The arrival of March signals the end of flu season, but the virus itself does not just disappear overnight, and people should continue to take precautions, such as staying at home when unwell, washing hands regularly, covering mouths when coughing and throwing used tissues in the bin immediately after sneezing.”
This year’s flu vaccination campaign saw many parents bring their young children forward to get protected.
Around 59 per cent of the region’s two-year-olds, as well as 61 per cent of three-year-olds, had the vaccine, which is given in the form of a painless nasal spray.
Most healthy adults recover from flu within three to seven days, but some severe cases can last much longer, with the most seriously ill often needing hospital admission.
The flu vaccine, which offers a high level of protection against the virus, can still be accessed outside of the winter months from some GP practices, pharmacies, high street chemists and larger supermarkets.
Having the flu jab is just one way in which people can support the local NHS at what is still a very busy time.
Looking after minor injuries and illnesses at home, staying indoors and away from others when feeling unwell, seeking help early on from local pharmacists and only ever visiting hospital or calling 999 for the most serious health concerns can support health and care teams to prioritise those people most in need.
For more information about flu, as well as details of where to get the vaccine and other health and care services, visit www.nhs.uk.