Published:  11:52 AM, 08 December 2020 Last Update: 11:56 AM, 08 December 2020

South Asian healthcare professionals urge to the community to get flu vaccine

South Asian healthcare professionals urge to the community to get flu vaccine

  • Higher prevalenceof some long-term health conditions in South Asians puts them at higher risk ofserious complications from flu.
  • Public Health England (PHE) researchsuggests that people infected with both flu and COVID-19 viruses are more atrisk of severe illness and death.

South Asian healthcareprofessionals are coming forward to encourage more people in the community totake up the flu vaccination given their higher prevalence of long-term healthconditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and liver disease.

Catching the flu on top of long-termhealth conditions, increases the chances of serious health complications andhospitalisation. Previous data has shown 60% of fatal flu cases are in peoplein a high-risk group.

Researchfrom Public Health England (PHE) this year has also suggested that the risk ofdeath more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu andCOVID-19 at the same time, compared to those with COVID-19 alone¹.

As a result, the flu vaccine has been made availableto anyone aged 50 and those who live with someone who is at high risk fromcoronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list).

Bristol GP, NHS Urgent Care Doctor andVice-Chair of the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group, Dr Koyes Ahmed,said: “Like many South Asians, Icome from a multigenerational household where it’s often much easier tospread the flu virus amongst younger and older members of the household. Flu can be serious and even deadly for older adults, and people withlong-term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease.

“There are still a lot ofmisconceptions about the flu just being a bad cold, but it can be extremelyserious and lead to hospitalisation or even death. I would strongly urge thosethat are eligible to get the flu vaccine to get it as soon as possible. Restassured we are doing everything we possibly can to ensure you are seen safelywith social distancing, PPE and other safety measures in place.”

Flu vaccination is also offered to children aged 2-11years old². New strides have been made this year to ensure there is a higheruptake, and this year you can request an alternative vaccine to the children’snasal spray, which has sometimes been rejected due to its ingredients.

Dr Farzana Hussain, aNewham GP and winner of the Pulse GP of the year award in 2019, said: “This year more than ever, it’s so important to getyour flu vaccine. The vaccine for children is a nasal spray and is availablefor children aged 2-11 years old. It is much easier to administer and isconsidered better at reducing the spread of flu to others.”

“For the first time, parentshave the option to request an alternative vaccination for their children thatdoesn’t contain porcine gelatine, which we know has deterred some South Asian parentsfrom getting the flu vaccine for their children. This is very promising newsand I urge all those that are eligible to protect themselves and their lovedones by making sure their children are vaccinated.”

Thosewho are eligible for a free flu vaccine should contact their GP, pharmacist, ormidwife to protect themselves and their families this winter.

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