With the annual NHS influenza (flu) immunisation programme in Wales well underway, Age Cymru is urging pensioners to get their flu vaccination as soon as possible.
According to Public Health Wales a third of the over 65s in Wales missed out on getting protection against influenza last year, a virus which can and does kill every year, despite the vaccine being made free of charge as part of NHS care.
Pensioners are now being urged to protect themselves as early as possible and get their vaccine before influenza starts circulating in Wales.
Age Cymru’s Health Initiatives Officer, Angharad Phillips explains why the influenza vaccination is so vital for the over 65s:
“People aged 65 or over are at a higher risk than the general population of developing complications of influenza so if they catch it they are more likely to become dangerously unwell. As we get older our immune systems also age and we become less effective at fighting infection which is why the flu vaccine is so important for everyone aged 65 and over.
“Influenza is a serious illness caused by a virus that affects the lungs and airways. Symptoms generally come on suddenly and can include fever, chills, headache, cough, muscle aches and fatigue. So for many older people, influenza can be fatal.
“It is also worth remembering that Influenza cannot be treated with antibiotics. “The vaccination also helps prevent the spread of the virus, so getting vaccinated helps keep you and those around safe. It’s a win-win situation.”
Health officials warn that even if you had the vaccine last year, it is very important to get it again this year. Immunity wanes and the influenza virus changes every year so you should have it again now for best protection this winter. Please speak to your GP surgery or community pharmacist to arrange to have your influenza vaccination soon.
You can also find out more by visiting www.agecymru.org.uk/flu
Notes to Editors
1. Age Cymru is the national charity for older people in Wales.
2. We are the force combining Age Concern Cymru and Help the Aged in Wales.
3. We work with local Age Cymru Partners across Wales to improve life for older people.
4. Age Cymru is a registered charity 1128436.
5. Company limited by guarantee and registered by in England and Wales 6837284.
6. Age Cymru is funded by donations from the public, corporate partners, our trading enterprises and the Welsh Government.
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