Those with long-term health conditions have been urged to have their free flu jab, as research from Public Health England (PHE) reveals 6 in 10 flu deaths affect people with underlying conditions.
Local Public Health officials, and a coalition of charities, are urging people with long-term health conditions to get the get vaccinated as soon they can.
Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications for those living with a long-term health condition, including:
- respiratory and heart conditions
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- chronic neurological disease like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
People with chronic respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or asthma, are 7 times more likely to die if they catch flu compared to healthy adults. People with cardiovascular problems, such as chronic heart disease or angina, or who have had a stroke, are 11 times more likely.
Some people with certain long-term health conditions may not view themselves as being at increased risk of serious illness from flu, especially if their condition is not related to the respiratory system. However, people with chronic liver disease and immunosuppression are 48 and 47 times more likely, respectively, to die from flu compared to healthy adults.
Over the last 5 years, flu has killed an average of 11,000 people in England each year, but the figure has ranged from around 4,000 deaths in the 2018 to 2019 season to more than 22,000 deaths in 2017 to 2018.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care said: “This year, with those most vulnerable to flu also being at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, it is more important than ever that eligible people get the flu vaccine.
“If you have a long-term health condition and haven’t yet had your flu vaccination, just call your GP and make an appointment, or visit your local pharmacy.”