residents to be offered new enhanced flu vaccine
in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge are to be offered an enhanced new
flu vaccine this winter.
Health England (PHE) said this week that the more effective flu
vaccine for those aged 65 and over this winter has the potential
to prevent deaths and significantly reduce the burden on the NHS.
new vaccine comes as records show there were at least 152 admissions
to hospital intensive care units across the South West due to influenza
last flu season (2017/18), compared to just 41 admissions the previous
season (2016/17). Throughout the 2017/18 season, intensive care
unit admissions were seen particularly amongst older adults.
the South West, hundreds of thousands of people aged over 65 are
set to benefit from the improved vaccine, with 73.8% (904,546) of
people in this age group taking up the offer of flu vaccine in the
region last flu season.
newly available 'adjuvanted' vaccine is expected to significantly
boost effectiveness by improving the bodys immune response
to the vaccine. This is important because typically older adults
bodies do not respond as well to the flu vaccine due to their naturally
weaker immune systems. Older adults are also more likely to suffer
complications from flu.
broader flu vaccination programme will also be improved by offering
eligible adults under 65, including pregnant women and those with
long term health conditions a quadrivalent vaccine in
injected form, which protects against two strains of flu A and two
strains of flu B. Last year, adults either received the trivalent
or quadrivalent vaccine.
quadrivalent vaccine contains two strains of Flu A and two strains
of Flu B, as recommended by the World Health Organisation. The main
strains that circulated last winter were Flu A(H3N2), which largely
affects older people, and Flu B.
is in particular encouraging pregnant women; no matter how many
weeks along they are, to get their vaccine from their GP, pharmacist
or midwife this winter to protect them and their baby. Last year
vaccine uptake was 47% in women who were expecting.
flu vaccine will be available from early October. PHEs annual
flu marketing campaign will launch on 8th October and will target
at risk audiences including pregnant women, parents of children
aged 2-3 and adults with long term conditions.
adults are encouraged to get their free vaccine from their local
general practice or pharmacy before the end of November to protect
themselves and their families before flu reaches its seasonal peak.
It is the single best way to protect against a potentially very
well as getting the vaccine, practising good hand hygiene by catching
coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throwing it away and washing your
hands after can help limit its spread catch it, bin it, kill
Julie Yates, Lead Consultant in Screening and Immunisation for Public
Health England South West, said: "Our figures show that flu
is not to be underestimated every winter the virus makes
hundreds of people seriously ill in the South West. While we can
never fully predict how the virus will affect the population each
year, the flu vaccine is the best protection we have against it."
is why were scaling up the programme this year by giving additional
protection to as many eligible adults as possible and also offering
it to more children."
encourage anyone who is eligible to take up the offer of their free
vaccine; it is there to protect you and the rest of your family
from a potentially very serious illness."
vaccination programme will also be improved by extending the nasal
spray vaccine offered to primary school children in year 5 (650,000
extra children), meaning the vaccine will be offered to children
in years reception, 1, 2,3, 4 and 5 this year. The programme will
eventually roll out to all primary school children.
tend to be super spreaders of flu, so protecting them
is crucial for protecting the rest of the population, it says.
Caroline Gamlin, Medical Director for NHS England in the South West,
said: "Last winter we saw a particularly harmful flu season
and it placed a very serious burden on NHS resources. We know this
year that staff will continue to do a fantastic job to Help
us Help You and minimise the spread of flu and help to protect
those who are most vulnerable to the virus."
programme has been extended again to include staff who work in social
care, including those who care for people in their homes and staff
working in Hospice care, and so health and social care workers are
also urged to take up the vaccine to protect themselves, their families
and the patients they care for."