People eligible for the vaccine are:
- over 65 and people in long term care
- people with long term respiratory disease such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis
- people with long term heart, renal or liver disease
- people with neurological disease such as Parkinson’s disease
- people with diabetes
- people who have a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
- health professionals and paid or unpaid carers of people with the above health conditions
- pregnant women
- Members of recognised voluntary organisations who provide planned emergency first aid at public events.
Dr Hussey said:
“Flu spreads easily, and can cause serious illness which would need to be treated in hospital. People with the above conditions are at greater risk of having a serious illness if they had flu. That’s why we encourage people in these groups to get the vaccine.
“If you are eligible for the vaccine, talk to your GP surgery, local health clinic or you can talk to NHS Direct Wales.
“For the first time selected community pharmacies will also be providing the vaccine this year. You can find out more about this on the NHS Direct Wales website. Please check with NHS Direct Wales or your pharmacy before travelling to find out if your local pharmacy can provide you with the vaccine.
“Many people think that flu is just a bad cold, but in fact it is much worse and can lead to other severe health complications. People know that the vaccine is available for the over 65s, but many people living with other health conditions aren’t always aware that they can get vaccinated as well. It is really important that people who are in at-risk groups do get vaccinated.”
The Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas has already received her flu vaccination for this winter and said:
“People who are over 65, even if they feel fit and well, should get vaccinated against seasonal flu. When you are older, you are more likely to have complications like bronchitis or pneumonia, which may result in a stay in hospital or cause you to lose your independence.
“It is also important that carers of elderly or disabled people should also be vaccinated to ensure that those they look after will stay healthy and cared for.”