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Thanks to the widespread wearing of masks, social distancing, travel restrictions, and increased awareness of the importance of good hygiene practices, the number of cases of flu proved to be much lower than expected last winter. However, there is certainly no room for complacency as flu season rolls around again for another year. In fact, we need to be more proactive than ever in protecting ourselves as it could prove to be a challenging winter for all. Read on to find out why, and how we’re making it as easy as possible to fight back with the introduction of our new online booking system for the flu vaccine.
Why winter 2021 is different
Prof Anthony Harnden, the deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, explained recently; ‘Flu could be potentially a bigger problem this winter than Covid. We’ve had a very, very low prevalence of flu for the last few years, particularly virtually nil during lockdown. And we do know that when flu has been circulating in very low numbers, immunity drops in the population and it comes back to bite us’. It is therefore essential that we all do our bit to protect ourselves and those around us from the flu this winter.
How to maintain healthy hygiene habits
Thanks to the pandemic, we’re all well-versed in the importance of maintaining healthy hygiene habits so we should all continue to do the following:
Why the flu vaccine is so important
These simple steps can help to limit the transmission of the virus but there is another vital way to fight the flu and that is to get the flu vaccination. The flu vaccine is safe and highly effective in protecting people from what can be a devastating illness.
To help relieve pressure on the NHS as it dealt with the covid pandemic, a record 19 million seasonal flu jabs were administered in winter 2020. This year, the Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced the most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in UK history, extending the programme to include all secondary school pupils up to year 11 for the first time, meaning 35 million people will be offered the flu vaccine during the upcoming winter season.
Commenting on the expansion, Mr Javid said; ‘Flu can be a serious illness and we want to build a wall of protection by immunising a record number of people’.
How the virus can cause serious complications
Those who opt not to have the vaccine put themselves at risk of becoming ill. Symptoms can include a sore throat, congestion, and a cough, as well as a fever, fatigue, chills, headache, and muscle pain. The flu, however, also has potential to cause serious health problems such as pneumonia. This is of particular concern to the young, elderly, or people with lung or heart problems. In addition, it is likely that a person infected with both coronavirus and flu will have a higher risk of complications.
Why it’s important to plan ahead
One simple injection in the arm should protect you throughout flu season, but to stay protected, it is recommended you get vaccinated every year. YourGP receives stocks of the flu vaccine weeks ahead of the NHS, with the first batch expected in mid-September – good news for those looking to protect themselves ASAP.
How to book your vaccine
If you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re vaccinated and you don’t wish to wait around for an NHS invite, book an appointment at YourGP. We’re open six days a week, with short-notice appointments available at a time that suits you.
The vaccine is available to anyone from 6 months old. Children aged 6-24 months are eligible for the injectable flu vaccine, and children from 2 years are eligible for either the nasal spray or injection.
YourGP also offers a Corporate Flu package as part of our Occupational Healthcare. It can be an effective way of reducing employee absence – which can have a massive effect on performance, productivity, and profits – a major concern for many businesses hit by the recent Lockdown restrictions.
Booking your flu vaccine at YourGP has never been easier thanks to the introduction of our new online booking system. It’s simple to use – just select a time and date that suits you, fill out your details, and pay securely online to confirm your appointment. Alternatively, you can contact our reception team on 0131 225 5656.
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