The campaign for the most ambitious flu vaccination programme to date will begin today (Monday October 5) in Manchester.
This year more than ever the collective efforts of all of the city’s residents will be relied on to protect against the double threat of seasonal flu and Covid-19.
Due to the expansion of the flu vaccination programme this winter more than 300,000 residents in Manchester will be eligible for a free flu jab, an increase of 60,000 compared to the same period in 2019.
Many of the people who are most vulnerable to flu are also at increased risk of Covid-19. With the flu vaccine proven to be effective in reducing the risk of seasonal flu, ensuring that as many vulnerable people as possible are vaccinated will protect them from a potential of a double diagnosis of Covid-19 as well as flu.
An effective and far-reaching flu vaccination effort in Manchester will be essential in reducing the spread of the flu virus which hospitalises thousands of people every year. This will reduce any additional pressure on the NHS this winter, freeing up health professionals to better tackle the Coronavirus.
GP surgeries and practices across Manchester have already been contacting their patients to book in a flu jab, resulting in thousands of residents already being vaccinated.
It is hoped that this momentum will continue throughout the autumn, with particular emphasis being placed on vaccinating adults and children who are most at risk of contracting or spreading the flu virus.
Later in the flu season, it may be possible to offer vaccinations to healthy adults aged 50-64 , this will be subject to supply of the vaccine.
Dr. Mo Miah, of the Robert Darbishire Practice in Rusholme, said: “This year it is critical that as many people in Manchester are vaccinated as possible. GPs working across the city are already contacting patients who are in at-risk groups and I would urge anyone to book an appointment at their local surgery as soon as they are able.
“We are expecting an increased demand this year so if you aren’t successful the first time round please keep trying. Due to this demand and the need to prevent the spread of covid GPs are working in a different way to keep everyone safely distanced, this may involve a vaccination at a new location, or even a drive through so please work with us to help protect one another.”
David Regan, Director of Public Health for Manchester, said: “Flu vaccination is one of our most effective health protection measures available. This is particularly important during the winter months when health and care services are already operating under significant pressure. Our city is already facing a major challenge in our effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19, and so I would urge every citizen who is eligible to take up their flu vaccination.”
Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing for Manchester City Council, said: “Historically Manchester has seen a lower than average uptake in vaccinations which is why so much effort this year is going into ensuring as many people as possible are protected. This year getting vaccinated is not just about ensuring your own health, but the health of your neighbours, colleagues and friends. So many sacrifices have been made this year in the name of protecting others which is why we are calling on everybody to do their bit in reducing the risk of seasonal flu outbreaks this year.”
Dr. Manisha Kumar, Medical Director for Manchester Health and Care Commissioning said: “In terms of symptoms flu is very similar to Covid-19. Like Covid-19 many people may only experience mild symptoms but not everyone is that fortunate. Many people become acutely unwell every year with thousands ending up in hospital which sadly can result in many people dying. As we face the most catastrophic pandemic in multiple generations I would urge every patient who is at risk to protect themselves from the flu virus.”