A STOCKPORT health consultant has urged elderly people in Greater Manchester to make sure they get their flu jab in preparation for the cold months.

Dr David Baxter, Health Consultant at Stockport Council, an area that is usually well above the national average, is worried that too many older people are leaving it to chance by not having the jab:

“What we’ve noticed so far this year is our uptake of vaccines, particularly in these at risk groups, is about 5 percent down on the same time last year.

“This is really concerning because it means we are going to see more people who are susceptible to flu catching it and suffering the consequences.”

Last winter, an estimated 105,000 elderly people in Greater Manchester were left at risk after not having the vaccine.

Many are concerned that the flu jab makes them feel worse, and that the vaccine only works well in younger people.

“I’m pretty old now so the vaccine doesn’t necessarily stop me getting flu but what it does do is it stops the severity and pneumonia, heart disease, the consequences that happen if you get flu,” Baxter said, “It’s a non-living vaccine, it can’t give you the flu and it works.”

Despite the doubts, Baxter is confident about the success of this year’s jab, and sends out an assertive message:

“Go and get your flu vaccine, go to see your GP, your practitioner, whoever, just get your flu vaccine.

“It’s very safe, it’s very effective and it should prevent you getting flu.”

By Josh Garside

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