If you don’t flu could be ‘just around the corner’
Follow that cab – or at least its message – that’s what the NHS in Greater Manchester wants people to do when they see ten taxis all turned out with reminders to beat flu blues, with just a single vaccination.
In a show of solidarity, the region’s health teams have worked together on a dedicated flu campaign with Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership*, as part of a planned approach to keeping people well and helping to take the pressure off the urgent care system ahead of predictions about this year’s virus strain and effects.
The taxi branding is just one part of a multi-media creative campaign to suit the region – where having a jab to stay hale and hearty, could be as simple as hailing a cab.
In total there are one million free flu vaccinations available to people most at risk of flu this year across Greater Manchester.
These people in the ‘at risk’ groups – people aged over 65, people with long-term health conditions like asthma and diabetes, pregnant women, people with a body mass index (BMI) of over 40 and carers.
A nasal flu vaccination is also offered to children free of charge. Parents of toddlers aged 2 or 3 can get them vaccinated at their GP surgery. School children from reception up to year 4 receive their vaccination at school, which parents give their consent for.
Lord Peter Smith, Chair of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and portfolio lead for health and social care at Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: “Flu season typically starts in early November, which is why we want to raise awareness now of how people can get a simple flu vaccination through GP surgeries, pharmacies and through schools.
“Last year only just over half of people eligible for a free jab took it up. These are figures we have to change because flu is an extremely serious condition – and in some cases people can die, or be hospitalised with it.”
Specifically, the Greater Manchester campaign will focus on two particular audiences – parents of 2-8- year-olds and people in the clinical at risk groups, in addition to those over the age of 65.
Graham Munslow, Clinical Screening and Immunisations Manager at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Looking at last year’s results we know we have particular room for improvement on the number of 2-3 year-olds being vaccinated at their GP surgery, and those children who attend school between the ages of 4 to 8 years old. This latter age group is one that can not only be very ill through flu, but also spread the virus to a wider network of people.
“But, ultimately, we want everyone to protect themselves from the virus, which will also mean fewer hospital admissions.”
Dr Tracey Vell, Associate Lead for primary and community care at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Last year more than 1000 Britons were in intensive care due to the virus.
“And, children aged 5 and under are more likely to be hospitalised due to flu more than any other age group.”
Jon Rouse, Chief Officer for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said, “Nationally NHS England, Public Health England and the Department of Health have launched a Stay Well This Winter campaign.
“We in Greater Manchester will also use those materials, but in addition, our own bespoke communications will focus on flu because an increase in vaccination uptake gives significant potential to reduce illness – and avoidable admissions and demand on our urgent care services.”