Vaccinations – they are important
The importance of vaccines was highlighted again this week with a focus on measles and how they can make the body ‘forget’ how to fight infection. We’re taking this opportunity to highlight our vaccination programme at Kirklees Council and why it’s so important to be vaccinated.
Flu Vaccine Programme
Flu can be a serious illness and for many people it may be fatal. On average 8,000 people die from the flu every year, but in the winter of 2017/18, there were an estimated 26,000 deaths.
Does everyone need a flu vaccine?
No, just people who are at particular risk of problems if they catch flu including:
- those aged 65 years and over
- those aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
- pregnant women
- those living in a residential or nursing home
- the main carer of an older or disabled person
- children aged 2-3 (on 31 August 2019) and all primary school aged children
Also frontline NHS or social care workers, are more at risk of being exposed to flu, and therefore of spreading the flu virus, so vaccination is a vital part of infection control. It will help stop flu spreading and protect those who are at increased risk from complications from flu. That’s why it’s important to get your free flu jab as soon as possible. Being healthy won’t stop you getting flu or passing it on. The flu virus can infect anybody, and even someone with no visible symptoms is still at risk of passing the virus on.
Flu virus strains change, so it’s important to have a flu jab every year ahead of the flu season. And remember, having a flu jab can’t give you the flu.
Protect yourself, your family and those around you from the flu and get your free flu jab.
What is measles?
Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that is spread through coughing and sneezing and can only be controlled by vaccination. Anyone can get measles if they haven’t been vaccinated or they haven’t had it before.
It can lead to serious complications such as infections of the lungs (pneumonia) and brain (encephalitis) and, on rare occasions, can be fatal. Complications of measles are more likely to develop in some people, including:
- babies younger than one year old
- People with a weakened immune system.
- Pregnant women
In 2017 the World Health Organization declared that the UK had eliminated measles. However, that elimination status has not been maintained and in 2018, there were 991 confirmed cases in England and Wales, compared with 284 cases in 2017
The measles mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is given as part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination programme.
The first dose is offered to all children on or after their first birthday and the second dose is offered before they start school, usually at three years and four months.
Two doses of the vaccine provide long lasting protection.
Anyone who has missed out on their MMR vaccine or is unsure if they have had two doses should call their GP practice and if required can get caught up for free regardless of their age.