SUNDERLAND MPs are urging at-risk Wearsiders to book-in for a flu jab.
With the arrival of cold autumn days and fears we may be in for another bitter winter, medics are keen that as many people as possible are vaccinated against potentially deadly influenza.
Sunderland folk were better than the national average when it came to turning up for their vaccinations, but about half of those in at-risk groups and a quarter of over-65s still did not get their jab.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott and Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson have joined the awareness campaign and practised what they preach by getting a dose of the vaccination themselves.
Ms Elliott said: “The seasonal flu vaccination is important to help protect those people who are more susceptible to serious complications or even death from flu.”
Mrs Hodgson added: “I would encourage all those that are over the age of 65 or are in one of the ‘at-risk’ groups to visit their surgeries and get vaccinated.”
More than 76 per cent of people over-65 and 52 per cent in the at-risk groups were vaccinated against flu in Sunderland last year, compared with the national averages of 72 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.
Dr George Kassianos, immunisation lead of the Royal College of GPs, said “Despite the relatively mild flu season last year, people should remember that flu remains a serious threat, particularly for those aged over 65 and those of any age with medical conditions that put them at increased risk from influenza infection and its complications, for whom it can be a pretty nasty and debilitating illness.
“It’s not too late, and I would encourage everyone at risk to get their annual flu jab.”
MPs and Peers were invited to attend a flu vaccine clinic to encourage their constituents to get this season’s flu vaccine in line with Government recommendations.
The initiative is sponsored by the UK Vaccine Industry Group and is supported by the Department of Health as a useful way to highlight the importance of flu vaccination.