Residents aged 65 and over are being urged by the local NHS to have their new and improved flu vaccine this year, and help reduce the impact of the virus on the local health care system significantly.
Winter is set to be extremely difficult for the NHS across the country, especially on A&E departments and local GP surgeries as they cope with the annual rise in numbers of people seeking treatment.
Last year saw 60 over 65 year olds ending up in hospital in the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford area due to flu. Those requiring hospital care caused an avoidable extra strain on the NHS, with people aged 65 costing the NHS just over £189,000 due to the flu last year.
Local doctors believe this could have been avoided had those eligible taken up the opportunity to get their free jab. Just over two thirds over 65 year olds in East Sussex had the free flu jab last year, which means thousands went unprotected and were at risk of complications if they caught the virus. This year they will get the new and improved aTIV flu jab, which improves the body’s immune response to the vaccine.
Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse and Director of Quality for East Surrey and Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “The coming winter could be really tough for the NHS and local staff are doing everything they can to prepare for the extra pressures we expect, now we are calling on the public to play their part and get the free flu jab if they are eligible.
“The new vaccine for over 65 year olds could reduce GP flu consultations and hospitalisations, freeing up busy NHS staff to provide care for those in most need, so we are calling on those eligible to claim their free flu jab so they don’t add unnecessary pressures to local health and care services.”
Local GPs are receiving their flu vaccine stock for over the coming months in phases, those aged over 65 years old should contact their GP practice to claim their free flu jab.
Find out more about the flu vaccine at www.nhs.uk