Importance of getting both jabs

HEALTH bosses expecting a “tricky” winter ahead are encouraging people in eligible groups to ensure they get their flu vaccine and Covid-19 seasonal booster jabs.

Rotherham Place medical director at NHS South Yorkshire, Dr Jason Page, told the council’s health and wellbeing board meeting at Rotherham Town Hall: “We are expecting a tricky flu season”.

Dr Page, who was also welcomed to his new role as vice chair of the health and wellbeing board at the meeting, stressed the importance of those who can getting their jab to help reduce flu cases.

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They include care home residents and staff, frontline health and social care workers, the over 50s and unpaid carers aged between 16 and 49.

Dr Page said: “Our flu season tends to mirror that in Australia — i.e. when they have lots of cases, so do we, so the more people have their jabs, the more it will help to reduce the numbers of flu cases here.”

Board chairman Cllr David Roche noted the numbers of Rotherham Hospital inpatients had tested positive for Covid was starting to fall or stabilise, but said: “The hospital does need space and time to get through the impact of the pandemic.

“The more people we can encourage to take the jabs, who then don’t need to go to hospital, the better. It’s better for other people’s health as well.”

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He added he was pleased to hear Rotherham had the highest Covid vaccination rates in South Yorkshire which were also “well above the national average”.

Rotherham’s director of public health, Ben Anderson, told the meeting: “It’s important we keep these high rates for this winter particularly, but also going forward.

“Public perceptions around Covid have changed massively and a significant driver of that has been the success of the jab.

“We need to keep that focus on vaccination when talking to people like unpaid carers.

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“I think we will get a good uptake in vulnerable groups but we need to keep that messaging going in the community work we do to really keep pushing the word out.”

NHS South Yorkshire chief operating officer Chris Edwards added: “Flu is just as important as Covid this winter.

“We’ve not had heavy flu seasons for quite a few years, so I would encourage people to have both jabs.”

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