Doctors advice on flu vaccines

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Whitby doctors’ surgeries are reminding readers who may be vulnerable to influenza that the time has arrived for the annual vaccination.

The single vaccine will give protection against both swine flu and the usual seasonal flu. This vaccination is a safe and an effective preventative treatment with very few side effects.

GP practices are offering this vaccination to the most vulnerable people who are at particular risk of the complications of influenza, which can result in very serious illness and hospital admission.

The vulnerable groups include all people over 65 years; all patients between six months and 65 who suffer from diabetes; long-standing chest problems, including any patient with asthma who requires inhaled steroids or steroid tablets; heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and those disabled by stroke or other disease of the nervous system; those whose immune system is suppressed by disease or treatment (when two vaccinations will be required four weeks apart); all pregnant women.

Children aged two to 18 who have long term health conditions will be offered a new nasal spray flu vaccine instead of the injection.

In addition vaccination is recommended for: all those living in long-stay residential homes; all those who care for an elderly or disabled person.

A new nasal spray flu vaccine will be offered to all children aged two and three years as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.

Leaflets with information and advice are available through your surgery.

A vaccination against Shingles is now available to eligible patients, who are – those with birthdays from September 2 1942 to September 1 1943 and from September 2 1933 to September 1 1934. Nurses will offer this at the same time as the flu jab. Other age groups will be introduced in the future.

Those in the Whitby and Esk valley areas should contact their own GP to arrange a vaccination. The numbers are:

Danby Surgery Patients – Tel 01287 660739 – Clinics commence from 1st October – please phone the surgery to make an appointment

Egton Surgery Patients - Tel 895356 – will be holding open clinics from week commencing Monday 25th September to Fri 11th October. Patients are asked to arrive at the surgery between the following times:

Monday 8–12noon

Tuesday 3–5.30pm

Wednesday 8–12noon

Thursday 8–12noon

Friday 8–12noon

Sleights and Sandsend Medical Practice Patients – Tel 810466 - clinics commence from October 7 – please phone the surgery to arrange your appointment

Staithes surgery – Tel 840480 - will start clinics from September 26. Please contact the surgery to book an appointment. Special flu clinic sessions will be advertised locally.

Whitby Group Practice Patients – if you are aged 65 years and over or if you are in one of the vulnerable groups (now including all children aged 2 – 3 years) - your flu vaccine has been reserved for you automatically and all you need to do is attend one of the Open Flu Clinics at Spring Vale Medical Centre on one of the following dates:

Saturday October 5, 12, 19 and 26 - 9am to 1pm

There is no need to make a specific appointment – do not wait for contact you, just turn up at one of the clinics. Open clinics take place on Saturdays while the surgery is closed to other patients and when at least four nurses available are available to give the vaccinations to keep waiting times to a minimum. Could all eligible patients please try to attend one of these clinics.