The campaign to protect Mancunians from seasonal flu this winter is making significant progress with more than 80,000 people vaccinated so far.
At the start of the 10th week of vaccinations 82,248 people have been given a flu jab in Manchester. This is an increase of almost 15,000 compared to the previous year. During the 2019/20 flu season just 68,310 people had been vaccinated at this stage.
Just over 300,000 people are eligible this year for a free flu vaccination.
This year it is critically important that as many people as possible receive the flu jab. Many of the people who would already be susceptible to flu are also at increased risk of Covid-19. Given the high rate of people currently being admitted to hospital it is vital that work continues to protect the most vulnerable.
So far 61% of people aged 65 and over have been vaccinated. Given that older people are at far greater risk from respiratory diseases this is a significant milestone.
However, there are still localised areas and groups in the city where vaccination rates are lower than expected and local healthcare teams are working to ensure every eligible person can be vaccinated.
A strategy is being put in place to increase the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic residents getting a flu jab. Areas that will be focused on include Cheetham and Crumpsall, Hulme, Ruhsholme and Moss Side.
BAME communities in Manchester have already been disproportionately affected by the impact of Covid which is why steps are being taken early to prevent further hardship by the spread of seasonal flu.
Efforts are also being made to target pregnant women, as well as parents of young children aged 2 and 3 who can face more serious complications if diagnosed with flu.
GPs will remain open during the current lockdown and residents with appointments are urged to attend.
Dr. Mo Miah, of the Robert Darbishire Practice in Rusholme, said: "This year it was critical that a strong start was made in getting as many people vaccinated as possible. We've been successful so far but the job is not finished. We know that within some city wards fewer people than we'd like have come forward to be vaccinated, and this is a trend we want to reverse. GPs are still open, they are safe and if you have an appointment to see your doctor we would urge you to keep it."
David Regan, Director of Public Health for Manchester, said: “Flu vaccination is one of our most effective health protection measures available. This is particularly important during the winter months when health and care services are already operating under significant pressure. Our city is already facing a major challenge in our effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19, and so I would urge every citizen who is eligible to take up their flu vaccination.”
Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing for Manchester City Council, said: “Historically Manchester has seen a lower than average uptake in vaccinations which is why so much effort this year is going into ensuring as many people as possible are protected. This year getting vaccinated is not just about ensuring your own health, but the health of your neighbours, colleagues and friends. So many sacrifices have been made this year in the name of protecting others which is why we are calling on everybody to do their bit in reducing the risk of seasonal flu outbreaks this year.”
To find out more about flu, please visit www.mhcc.nhs.uk/flu