Dr Amanda Boardman.jpgEncouraging people with a learning disability/autistic people to get their flu vaccine this year

At this time of year we encourage everyone to make plans to get their flu vaccine.

The vaccination is especially important for people with a learning disability/autistic people as they are unfortunately more likely to become very ill if they catch the flu.

I would encourage anyone in this group to make sure they have the vaccination as soon as possible as it’s the best way to avoid the flu. Having a vaccine sooner will also provide protection over a longer period of time and help reduce the chances of spreading the virus to your family and friends.
As nurses and doctors it is important that we listen to you, your families and carers, to make sure we get it right for you and that we speak to patients in a way that can be understood. This includes making sure that you feel safe and comfortable when you have the vaccine. If you are scared of needles then please tell the nurse as there is also an alternative nose spray vaccine available which is painless and will still work to protect you.

The flu virus changes every year so even if you had your jab last winter you will need to have one again to help protect you.

People with a learning disability are eligible for a free flu vaccination if they are in a high risk health group and can ask at their GP surgery or local pharmacy.

Family carers and paid support workers may also be able to have the free flu vaccine to help protect the high risk group and they don’t pass the flu on.

Further information on the flu vaccine is available in an easy read format at: www.northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/flu

By Dr Amanda Boardman                                                                                                      
Clinical Lead for Children's Commissioning, Mental Health, Learning Disability and Safeguarding at NHS North Cumbria CCG

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