Thirteen Salford keyworkers have joined together in a plea to the public to fight flu this winter.
The group, which include health workers, council staff, teachers, a tram driver and a volunteer, were typical of those praised by the public for keeping the city moving and supporting vulnerable people during lockdown earlier this year.
Now they are calling on the public to do their bit by getting vaccinated against flu so the NHS and social care are not fighting two major illnesses this winter. The campaign has been launched by Salford City Council, NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (SRFT).
People aged over 65, under 65s with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and carers are offered the vaccination each year but, in some cases, less than half those who are eligible take it up. GPs have already begun contacting patients and vaccinations are also being offered through local pharmacies. Schoolchildren from reception to year seven are offered vaccinations via a nasal spray.
The government has also said that if sufficient vaccine is available after the above priority groups have taken up their offer, it will be made available to 50 to 64-year olds.
Councillor Gina Reynolds, lead member for adult services, health and wellbeing, said: “Flu is a horrible illness which can put you in bed for several days or more. It weakens your immune system for up to six months leaving you vulnerable to other illnesses, including COVID-19. Flu can hospitalise you with complications and can even kill so it’s vital people take up their vaccinations.”
Dr Jeremy Tankel, GP and CCG flu clinical lead, said: “This year, more than any other year, it is vital to get a flu vaccine. If you get the flu and coronavirus at the same time then the risks of very serious harm or death are much, much greater. It is sensible to get a vaccination as soon as it is offered to you. It is the right thing to do.”
Dr Pete Turkington, SRFT Chief Officer and Medical Director, said: “The past few months have been totally unprecedented in the history of the NHS and our staff have been under immense pressure to cope with the demand on our services.
“The pandemic is not over yet so let’s ensure we don’t add to the pressure our NHS staff are already under by making sure we have the flu jab this year. It’s vital that we all take responsibility to protect ourselves and each other.”
The Salford heroes are:
Sam Barry, refuse collector. Salford was one of few places in the country to keep bin collections unchanged during early lockdown.
Angela Eden and Foyzul Gani, health improvement workers. The team have taken their stop smoking, healthy weight and exercise advice online during the pandemic and are offering health checks to key workers.
Lou Ross, Metrolink driver supervisor – keeping the city moving
Lesley Fisher, volunteer, who founded and has run Dancing with Dementia for six years
Dafydd Davies and Ellen Brawley, primary school teachers at St Phillips CE primary school, Salford
Hollie Ward nurse practitioner, critical care unit, Salford Royal Hospital who has been caring for people with COVID-19.
Marie Howard, community care assistant at Crossroads Care
Dr Selvaraasan, GP at Orient Road Medical Practice
Dr Adeyeye, GP at Pendleton Medical Centre
Angela Goddard, lead practice nurse at Langworthy Medical Practice
David Hartley, Salford police community support officer (PCSO)
For more information and a list of pharmacies offering the flu jab please click here.