Neil Hamilton, AM for Mid & West Wales and UKIP Leader in Wales, is urging everyone eligible for a flu vaccination to get protected.
Mr Hamilton, who has the injection every year, is backing a call by Public Health Wales for those in ‘at risk groups’ to get the free flu vaccine as soon as possible.
Mr Hamilton said:
“The Beat Flu campaign is underway throughout Wales to offer flu vaccines to individuals most at risk of serious complications from influenza, and my message to them is to make sure it’s at the top of your to-do list this autumn.
“Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others around you against flu and I encourage those at high risk to make an appointment with their GP, or go to their community pharmacy and get themselves protected before it is too late.
“The young, the old and those in ‘high risk’ occupations are all covered by the free vaccine and it is vitally important they are all vaccinated.”
Annual flu vaccination is the best protection against catching or spreading flu and people across Wales with long-term health conditions.
It is free to pregnant women, children aged 2 to 10, those aged 65 and over, unpaid carers and care home resident and community first responders and volunteers providing planned emergency first aid at organised public events.
Children aged two and three, on August 31 2019 and primary school children from reception to school year six will be offered the vaccine in the form of a nasal spray. Children from the age of two with a long-term health condition can also get a free flu nasal spray.
Staff working in adult residential care homes, nursing homes, and in children’s hospices with regular client contact are also eligible for a free flu vaccination at their community pharmacy. This is to help better protect residents and reduce the spread of flu.
Frontline health and social care workers are also recommended to have the vaccine to protect themselves and those they care for.
Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, says, “Flu can be life-threatening for some people because it spreads very easily. Annual flu vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself and others against this potentially life-threatening illness.”
More individuals in at-risk and recommended groups got their flu vaccine last season than ever before; an estimated 868,688 people were vaccinated. This includes almost seven in 10 people aged 65 and over, and almost six in 10 NHS Wales frontline staff.
“There were 62 outbreaks of flu in Wales during the 2018-19 season,” says Dr Richard Roberts, Head of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme at Public Health Wales, “and if you fall into any of the ‘at risk’ categories, you are vulnerable and more likely to get complications if you catch it, so even if you feel healthy, you should have your annual flu vaccine now.”