GET your flu jab and stay free from infection this winter.
That is the message today from hospital bosses to the Sunderland public and health workers on Wearside.
Chiefs say that this year they hope to vaccinate almost 75 per cent of frontline NHS staff and called on those in “at-risk” groups to get their jab as soon as possible as colder and wetter weather draws in this autumn.
“Last year we only narrowly missed being the trust in the North East with the highest level of take-up for the flu vaccine at 64.5 per cent of frontline staff,” said City Hospitals Sunderland occupational health and wellbeing manager Anna Porter.
“As one of the biggest hospitals in the region, that is a great success, both at protecting staff their families and, most importantly, the patients they look after.
“This campaign we hope to exceed that figure and vaccinate over 70 per cent of our frontline staff.
“Healthcare workers are encouraged to take up the offer of an annual flu vaccine particularly to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading to vulnerable patients.
“We encourage staff to receive their vaccination early in the campaign as it can take between 10 and 14 days for the body to build up a level of immunity from the vaccine. Flu is a very common highly contagious illness which for most healthy people is unpleasant but usually temporary.
“However, older people, the very young, pregnant women and those with underlying disease are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu.”
Dr Roberta Marshall, who is director of the North East Public Health England Centre, said: “For the majority of people, flu is an unpleasant, but not life-threatening illness.
“However, it can be very serious for older people and those groups at risk of developing complications.
“They include those who have weakened immune systems as well as underlying conditions such as neurological disorders, liver, lung or renal disease, heart problems or diabetes and pregnant women.
“Vaccination remains the best way to protect against the potential serious harm from flu this winter.
“I urge everyone entitled to a free jab, to take up the offer – especially the parents of young children who qualify.”