After winning a prestigious award, Dr. Ranj Singh (an NHS doctor and BAFTA-winning TV presenter) urges everyone to make sure to stay well this season by getting a flu vaccine (when it becomes available).
One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy as an older adult is to get the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine.
As older people and those with specific health conditions are most at risk from flu and COVID-19, it is crucial that they protect themselves as soon as possible, when they are contacted by the NHS.
Dr Ranj Singh, said: “Sadly this year it seems that we may be expecting a particular nasty flu strain and even though it may feel like coronavirus has gone away to a certain degree I would still encourage all older people to get both their COVID-19 and flu vaccine booster, as soon as they can. It is still really important. Both those vaccinations need topping up to be most effective, especially as we move into autumn and winter and viruses start to thrive again.
“We know that catching the flu and COVID-19 viruses at the same time can be really dangerous for vulnerable people, but the simple fact is that being vaccinated helps prevent hospitalisation and serious illnesses, which is why I am supporting Age UK in their call for all older people to have both vaccinations when they are called, messaged or written to by the NHS.” Ranj Singh continued.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “Speaking as someone who has already had the double jab, because my GP surgery was in the vanguard, my advice to older people is please do take up the offer of the COVID-19 booster and a flu jab when it comes your way. Millions of older people took the opportunity of having the spring booster, so we are urging everyone to do the same this autumn. It’s perfectly safe to have them together, and often more convenient too - I chose to do it that way so I wouldn’t have to go back. However, you are offered the choice of having them singly or together when you attend. So, whenever you are called for vaccination please do accept – you’ll be doing yourself some good and helping to protect everyone else you come into contact with too.
“Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses. There's still a chance we might get flu even after vaccination but, if we do, the symptoms are likely to be milder and should not last as long. Having the flu vaccine will also reduce the chances of us spreading the virus to others who may be more at risk of serious problems than we are, so it’s also a socially responsible thing to do.
“Vaccinations are the best defence we have against having our health badly undermined this winter, so we cannot overstate how important it is that everyone who is eligible actually receives them. With all the worries about energy prices it’s more important than ever to stay fit and well this year, and getting these vaccinations will help.”
The number of people who die of influenza each year in England averages 11,000, but in 2017/18 before the COVID-19 pandemic, that number reached a staggering 22,000, the highest death toll in recent history. There were nearly 2,000 deaths related to influenza among those over 60 that year.