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Issue 287 – Swine flu vaccination programme is rolled out in Frome

SWINE flu vaccinations are being rolled out in Frome, with vulnerable people as well as nurses and health professionals being top of the list for jabs.

Frome’s GP surgeries each have 500 vaccinations for the H1N1 virus, which were delivered at the end of last month. Vaccination clinics are now being planned for ‘at risk’ groups of people in the town.
Those considered ‘at risk’ include: patients aged between 6 months and 65 years old, patients who have diabetes, asthma, COPD, chronic kidney or liver disease, chronic heart disease or who have suffered a stroke, patients or household members of those who have multiple sclerosis or who are immunosuppressed, and patients who are pregnant. If you are unsure if you are in one of the “at risk” groups please ask at your surgery.
Nurses and health professionals at Frome Community Hospital have been offered the swine flu and seasonal flu vaccinations as part of the planned measures to protect staff and reduce the risk of infection to the patients they treat.
Hospital matron, Janet Saunders said, “Protecting our staff and patients by reducing the risk of infection is a top priority and that is why we are encouraging hospital staff to have the swine flu vaccination.
“The vaccine will reduce their risk of infection and the risk of passing on the swine flu virus. It will therefore keep staff well so that they will be ready to treat patients and keep them well during the swine flu pandemic.”
The government’s Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has warned that levels of the H1N1 pandemic swine flu virus are set to rise throughout the UK this winter and with this spread is predicted a rise in hospital admissions of vulnerable people with long-term ill health.  
Commenting upon the swine flu vaccine for Somerset patients, Dr Caroline Gamlin, director of public health with NHS Somerset said, “Somerset patients within these higher risk groups will receive a letter in due course from their GP inviting them to have the new swine flu vaccine.
“Unlike seasonal flu, swine flu is a new virus so it’s unlikely that patients will have an inbuilt immunity. This means if you may feel you rarely get colds or flu, you may not be so lucky with swine flu.  I would therefore urge anyone in these higher risk groups to have the vaccine when invited to do so.
“I would also remind patients over 65 years old and younger patients with long term health conditions to ensure they have their normal winter flu vaccination this year.  Your GP surgery will be able to advise you when their winter flu jab clinics are taking place.”