Local MP, Caroline Dinenage this week attended Westminster Flu Day, a flu vaccine clinic held in the House of Commons, to promote the importance of getting this season's flu vaccine, especially for vulnerable groups.
53% of at-risk people and 27% of people over the age of 65 in Gosport were not vaccinated against flu last year, even though the consequences of not having a flu vaccine can be serious. The national figures are even worse, around 55% at-risk patients and 30% over 65s.
People in a risk group, such as pregnant women, or those with an underlying health condition such as liver disease and heart disease, are at significantly increased risk of dying as a result of flu. Every year, an estimated 12,000 people die from seasonal influenza in England and Wales. Flu is the most frequent cause of death in pregnancy.
The vaccine is available free to many groups including over 65s and younger people with health conditions, as well as those who work as carers or in health & social care.
As an asthma sufferer, Caroline knows the potential consequences of her catching the flu could be more serious
After the event Caroline said:
"The best way to help protect yourself against the flu is to get the flu vaccine. As an asthma sufferer, I know the risks of complications as a result of getting the flu virus can be higher, that's why I would urge everyone who is entitled to a free flu vaccine to go and visit their GP or pharmacist."
Nicola Blackwood MP, Public Health Minister added:
"Make sure you get your flu jab this winter. People often get the flu in winter and it can lead to more serious illnesses and even death, so it is good to protect yourself".
Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust said:
"If you're the main carer for an older or disabled person, we recommend that you ask your GP or pharmacist for a free flu jab this winter. Being an unpaid carer is tough, and coming down with the flu can make it almost impossible to look after someone."
Westminster Flu Day is an established event in the Parliamentary calendar. It is sponsored by the ABPI Vaccine Group in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing and Carers Trust and with the support of the Department of Health and Public Health England.
Parliamentarians receiving the vaccine made a monetary donation to the Carers Trust.