GPs urge vulnerable patients to get flu jab

GPs are encouraging patients who need the flu jab to make sure they get it before local hospitals are hit by winter pressures.

Doctors say the vaccine not only saves lives, it can save time and money for hospitals.

Getting the jab is particularly important if you're elderly, pregnant, or if you suffer from underlying health problems.

The best time to get it is between September and early November.

Dr Tom Black is urging those with chronic illnesses to get the flu jab. Credit: UTV

"It's important to get those at high risk, with chronic diseases, vaccinatedso that they don't become so impaired with their diseases that they end up in hospital because hospital beds can be very scarce over the winter," said Dr Tom Black.

119

People with flu-related illnesses ended up critically ill in intensive care last year

Last year in Northern Ireland, it was one of our worst ever flu seasons.

Statistics show that 119 people with flu-related illnesses ended up critically ill in intensive care and 22 of those patients died.

Despite that, out of almost 890,000 people eligible for the flu jab, more than a third (330,000) didn't come forward to get it.

"In particular over the last few years, we've really struggled to get operations done in hospital because there was so many people in hospital with the flu and related illnesses," said Dr Black.

The message is that if you've received a doctors note about getting a flu vaccination, it's important that you go and get it.

It not only saves lives, but money for patient care during winter months.