THERE has been a healthy surge in the number of ‘at risk’ people from across the area taking advantage of free flu jabs, fresh figures show.
And the message from a top GP today was: ‘If you haven’t had your jab yet, there’s still time – so please do’.
With the temperatures close to freezing, the NHS is again urging people to take steps to stay healthy this winter by getting their flu vaccination jab.
Latest data from Public Health England, gathered between September and November, shows a rise in the number of people protecting themselves against the flu.
And these national stats were mirrored in the three clinical commissioning group (CCG) areas in Fareham and Gosport, Portsmouth, and south-east Hampshire.
But many patients in vulnerable at-risk groups have still not been vaccinated, leaving themselves at risk to the potentially fatal virus.
Dr Jim Hogan, the urgent care lead for the three CCGs, said: ‘There is still time for people who are eligible to receive a free flu jab to take up the offer.
‘It would take a few minutes out of your day and offers protection against a virulent virus, potentially stopping both you and your loved ones and carers from falling ill too.’
Priority at-risk groups eligible for the free vaccine include those aged over 65, those under 65 including children who have a long-term condition, pregnant women and all children aged from two to five.
Uptake of the vaccines across all the area’s CCGs has been higher than the national average, with virtually all recording improved figures.
The biggest increase was among pregnant women in Portsmouth, with 10.7 per cent of them getting vaccinated. And 8.1 per cent more children aged two to five in Fareham and Gosport were vaccinated in 2016 than 2015.
Anyone eligible for a free jab can receive it through their GP, midwife or local high street pharmacist.