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Cheshire Flu Programme is Shot in Arm for Patient Safety

A Cheshire health leader has thanked residents for protecting themselves, their loved ones and the NHS by getting vaccinated against flu in greater numbers than ever before.

Figures published by NHS England (NHSE) on Tuesday 2 February showed that 244,955 Cheshire people eligible for the vaccination had been jabbed so far this winter, or 62.8 per cent of everyone entitled.

And the rate rises to 73.4 per cent excluding 50 to 64 year olds, who were eligible for vaccination for the first time this year.

Crucially, 129,316 or 83.4 per cent of residents over the age of 65, had been vaccinated. These are the people most likely to fall seriously ill from flu.

Now, Dr Andy McAlavey, joint medical director of NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has paid tribute to residents for taking up the vaccine in record numbers.

He said: “Our patients have gone the extra mile this winter to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. They have also played a vital role in stopping the NHS being overwhelmed by a combination of flu and Covid-19.

“Healthcare staff have also played their part by getting vaccinated in hospitals and GP practices in greater numbers than ever before.”

Dr McAlavey also thanked GP practices for their early anticipation and adoption of the Covid processes to ensure their well-organised campaigns were a success, as well as the valued contribution from community pharmacists who have also delivered record numbers of vaccinations this year.

The NHSE figures show that, of nine CCGs in Cheshire and Merseyside, Cheshire was top of the vaccination league table for 10 of 12 cohorts of eligible people. And it was second in the other two. In addition, Cheshire has exceeded the England and North West average in all groups

There have been very few recorded flu cases nationally this winter while GP consultations for flu-like symptoms have been low. At the same time, no outbreaks have been reported in Cheshire care homes.

Factors for the exceptionally low flu numbers include high uptake of the vaccine, measures taken to combat Covid-19 and a winter communications campaign by the CCG and partners which has reached more than half a million people.

Eligible people who would still like a flu vaccination should contact their GP practice or community pharmacist. To find out if you are eligible, visit www.nhs.uk and search “flu”.