Faith and community leaders in Oxfordshire are urging residents to make sure they get vaccinated against flu this year in a series of short video clips. The videos have been recorded in English, Urdu, Bengali, Arabic, Punjabi and Pashto. Flu vaccination clinics are underway and the NHS is encouraging anyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccination to book an appointment with their GP or pharmacist, as soon as they receive an invitation. All clinics will run in line with infection prevention control and social distancing measures will be in place. Imam Monawar Hussain, Muslim Chaplain at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Catching the flu can have serious complications for some people so it is more important than ever for us to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is the best protection for you and those around you. We have created these videos to make sure this important message reaches as many people as possible.” As Muslim Chaplain for the Trust, Monawar provides support for patients, their families, and staff alike. He is on-hand to offer advice to staff to help them deliver compassionate care to the diverse Muslim communities using the Trust’s hospitals.
Dr Meenu Paul, from Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Every year the flu virus kills people and hospitalises many more. We want to reassure residents that GPs will be taking extra precautions in practices to make sure flu vaccinations will be delivered as safely as possible in a COVID-secure way.” For the first time, children in school Year 7, and household contacts and carers of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, are all eligible for the free vaccination. These groups are in addition to people aged over 65, those under 65 with long-term health conditions, pregnant women, children aged 2 and 3 and children in primary school.
Flu is a highly infectious disease that is spread from person to person and infects the respiratory system, where it can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The flu viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination. Doing so significantly reduces the risk of developing the illness.
For a full list of priority groups and other information about this year’s flu vaccine, visit www.nhs.uk and search for ‘flu vaccine’.