MP supports flu vaccine programme

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FYLDE MP Mark Menzies has urged people to take advantage of the offer of a flu vaccine after attending a clinic in the House of Commons.

During the Westminster Flu Day, Mr Menzies received his inoculation and was given information about the take-up of the life-saving vaccination in Fylde.

Following the event, Mr Menzies said “The consequences of having flu for certain groups of people – such as those with a medical condition, pregnant women, children and people over the age of 65 – can be serious. I would therefore urge everyone who is entitled to a free flu vaccine on the NHS to go and get vaccinated.”

During the clinic, the Member of Parliament was told that 43 per cent of at-risk people and 23 per cent of people over the age of 65 in Fylde and Wyre were not protected against flu last year, despite being eligible for a free NHS vaccine.

This compares to 47.7 per cent nationally of at-risk patients and 26.8 per cent of people over the age of 65.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter MP added: “Vaccination against flu helps to protect those people who are more susceptible to serious complications or even death from flu.”

Seasonal flu (influenza) is a highly infectious illness and can be fatal. There were estimated to be 11,000 deaths from flu in the UK in the 2012/13 season.

It is believed that in excess of six million working days are lost in the UK due to seasonal influenza every year while flu accounts for more than 400,000 GP appointments annually. In England, elderly respiratory hospital admissions during epidemics of influenza cost the health service more than £22m every winter.

The Department of Health recommends free flu vaccinations for those aged 65 or over; and for people with certain chronic conditions such as respiratory disease (including asthma); heart, renal, liver or neurological disease; diabetes; low immune systems; as well as people living in long-stay facilities such as nursing and residential homes, and carers of elderly or disabled people.

Healthcare professionals are also encouraged to have the vaccination, as well as pregnant women and children aged two, three and four.

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