Chesterfield's footballers have kicked off their winter season by backing NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) plea for people most at risk of flu to have the jab.
Captain Sam Hird and assistant manager Mark Crossley – were joined by Dr Ben Milton, chair of the CCG, and Beverley Robinson, practice nurse from Whittington Moor Surgery at their ground to urge people to take advantage of their free jab offer as the NHS’ annual flu campaign starts.
Each year around 600 people in the UK die from seasonal flu – a figure which can rise to around 13,000 deaths during a flu epidemic. This year’s target group include the under-65s with a medical condition, over-65s, pregnant women, health and social care workers, unpaid carers and people living in long stay residential homes.
Sam Hird from Chesterfield FC, said: “Getting the flu jab every year is really important, as it provides the best line of defence against a nasty, potentially fatal, virus.
“Our players pride themselves on staying on top of their game, so we’re pleading with our fans to do the same and take up their free flu vaccine offer if they are eligible.”
Doctors from NHS North Derbyshire CCG also warned patients that the virus persists whatever the weather.
Dr Milton, chair of the group, said: “Last year was an unusually mild winter, but sadly this does not prevent the spread of the virus, which at its most virulent can cause hundreds and even thousands of deaths.
“For the majority of individuals flu is a mild illness, however for a minority, the virus causes severe illness and can be fatal. But the good news is there is a way to reduce the risks associated with flu – and that’s by having the free flu jab on the NHS. So I’d urge all at-risk patients to think seriously before they take unnecessary risks with their health.”
Around 146,000 people in Derbyshire had the flu jab last year, including three out of four elderly patients. But despite this, thousands left themselves exposed to the risks of the virus – among them more than 5,000 pregnant women and over 30,000 elderly patients.
“It’s perfectly understandable for people to be nervous about having the jab, but contrary to popular belief it is not possible to catch flu from having the jab as there is no live virus in the vaccination,” Dr Milton added.
Local GPs began their ‘Get the Jab, Get Flu Safe’ seasonal flu campaign on 1 October. Anyone in the target groups should contact their GP to book an appointment to have the jab. Further advice about the flu and its symptoms can be found at www.derbycitypct.nhs.uk/staying-healthy/derbyshire-flu-safe/ or by calling NHS ‘111’.