Those caring for loved ones urged to take up their free flu vaccine
Health and social care teams across Shropshire are urging those who care for an older person, or person with disabilities, to protect themselves and the person they care for, by getting their flu vaccine.
Every winter, many carers don’t have their free flu vaccination, despite the fact that they may be entitled to one.
Anyone who receives a carer’s allowance, or who is the main carer for an elderly person or a person with disabilities, whose welfare may be at risk if they fall ill, should contact their GP or pharmacist about getting a free flu vaccination for them and the person they care for.
If a carer is struck down by flu they could become too ill to care. If no one else can step in to look after the person they care for, they could be at risk. Carers could also unwittingly pass on the virus and make the person they care for seriously ill, especially if they have a lower immune system.
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult services, health and social housing, said:-
“Many people may not see themselves as carers; this is particularly the case for couples who for obvious reason’s caring for someone they love, is a natural part of a relationship. If you look after someone who couldn’t cope without your help, then as a carer, you could be eligible for a free flu vaccine.
“As well as protecting yourself the flu vaccine will also help stop the spread of flu to the one you care for. Therefore I would urge all carers to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible.”
Dr Emma Pearce, Shropshire Council’s speciality registrar in public health, added:-
“The cornerstone of being a carer is being able to look after the person that needs your help and support. If you catch flu, not only can you not fulfil that role to the best of your abilities, but you may also risk infecting the person that you are caring for. Getting your free flu jab from your GP or pharmacist will mean both of you can remain safe and well throughout the winter months.”
Dr Julian Povey, Chair of NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Dr Jo Leahy, Chair of NHS Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, said:-
“If you are the main carer of an older person, or person with disabilities, you may be eligible for the free flu jab, speak to your GP. The seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect carers and the person they care for from the flu, helping to prevent the caring arrangement from breaking due to sickness.”
For more information about the flu vaccination visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine