Carers urged to fight flu – put yourself first

Last changed: Wednesday 10 August, 2016

We are urging the thousands of carers across the region who look after someone who is elderly, ill or disabled, to get their free flu jab – NOW!

Carers are being encouraged to contact their GP surgery or local pharmacy to find out about the vital vaccination.

Our Director Anne Smyth says: “As winter approaches, we are advising carers to have their free flu jab to help reduce the risk to their own health — as well as the health of the person they care for.

“Carers tend to put themselves last – it’s all about the person they care for – but it’s vital that when it comes to flu they put themselves first.

NHS Flu Fighter Flyer is being distributed to professionals and partners to help raise awareness

“Every winter, the vast majority of unpaid carers miss out on a free flu jab, despite the fact that they’re entitled to request one if they’re the main carer for someone elderly, ill or disabled, and whose health would be at risk if they fell ill.

“If a carer gets the flu and becomes too unwell to care, there may be no-one else who can step in and look after the person they care for, and this can have major knock-on effects.

“Also, if the carer is looking after someone with a lowered immune system they could pass the virus on to the person they care for, even if the person they look after has had a flu jab.”

She adds: “There is a risk that if both the carer and the person they look after fall ill it could cause all sorts of problems and this is what we want to avoid.”

To help raise awareness, we are calling on all professionals working with carers to help spread the message of the importance of getting the flu jab, and some medical centres and GP surgeries are hosting special Flu Clinics.

Carers’ Resource staff are also attending some Flu Clinics to help encourage carers to be vaccinated, and to promote other services on offer.

Carers in West Yorkshire can also text ‘pharmacy flu’ and their postcode to 80011 to find their nearest pharmacy offering the NHS flu jab.

For more information speak to your GP or pharmacist.

The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk. This is to ensure they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications. You are eligible to receive a free flu jab if you:
• are 65 years of age or over
• are pregnant
• have certain medical conditions
• are very overweight
• are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
• are a healthcare worker with direct patient contact, or a social care worker.