HEALTH staff are rolling up their sleeves to get stuck into flu jabs.
NHS workers across the north east are signing up for the seasonal flu vaccination to avoid spreading the virus to patients.
And as the campaign steps up for staff to get the jab, patients in ‘at-risk’ groups are also being reminded to protect themselves.
One of those to qualify for the free jab is Morpeth mum Julia Young, who is Associate Director of Commissioning at NHS North of Tyne.
The health boss suffers from asthma so is among those most likely to be hospitalised from flu. She was one of the first to take up the offer of free vaccination and went along to her local GP practice at Wellway Medical Group to have the jab.
“I was particularly poorly with asthma two years ago and I don’t want to go into hospital again so I’m making sure I’m protected from seasonal flu,” she said.
“By being vaccinated I am also helping to protect the rest of my family.
“I strongly advise anyone who is contacted by their GP to take up the offer of the vaccines. Vaccines save lives.”
Last year just 37 per cent of front line NHS staff in the North East got the jab and the majority who did receive it came forward in December when the pressure on the health service was at its peak.
Now all health organisations are striving to ensure that at least 60 per cent of front line staff are protected from flu this winter, and get the vaccine sooner rather than later.
Members of the public most in need of the flu jab are pregnant women, people over the age of 65, people who live in residential homes and patients with a long-term health problem such as diabetes, chest complaints, heart conditions or stroke.
Patients with a lowered immune system should also be protected and their carers and those who live with them may also be eligible.
NHS North of Tyne Medical Director Dr Mike Guy said: “Flu is a preventable illness yet it continues to kill people every year.
“It is crucial that those at risk get the vaccine to protect themselves and prevent the virus from spreading.”
For more information about eligibility visit www.nhs.uk or contact your GP.