Patients encouraged to accept flu jab offer this winter to help protect the community

Newport's leading doctor has urged eligible people to get their flu vaccination this year after last year's lockdowns meant a lack of flu cases, but an increase in risk for this coming winter.

Dr Stefan Waldendorf
Dr Stefan Waldendorf

Dr Stefan Waldendorf, clinical director for Newport's Primary Care Network, has also encouraged residents to get their Covid booster vaccination when invited.

Patients have to wait six months from their second Covid vaccination before getting the booster, and Dr Waldendorf said getting both the flu vaccine and Covid booster will help protect the community during winter.

"The one clear message is people still need to have their flu jab," he said.

"More importantly though because of last year due to lockdowns, we had very few cases of flu so there is an increased risk of cases following winter.

"Everyone who is eligible for it should go for the flu jab.

"For boosters, evidence shows immediately cases were down a lot so it's advisable that everyone who is over 50 years old or has severe medical problems should have the vaccine after six months or when they are invited."

The practices in the Newport Primary Care Network include Newport's Linden Hall Surgery and Wellington Road Surgery as well Donnington Medical Practice and Shawbirch Medical Centre in northern Telford.

Flu clinics will start first, explained Dr Waldendorf, beginning at Wellington Road Surgery last weekend.

"Patients will be contacted about jabs, either by a text message or a phone call," he said. "Then we will start to do Covid booster vaccinations.

"In the first phase months ago, we did all the appointments from the Newport vaccination hub at Audley Court which was very successful. We are now able to deliver from the surgeries individually.

"The boosters will start from mid-October onwards. It will be patients over 50 years old to start with and the most vulnerable patients first. We will then make our way down through age groups and patients with severe health issues.

"The reason we can't do it earlier is the booster vaccination can only be given six months after the second vaccination. So we have to wait for everyone to catch up.

"It would be helpful if patients could make sure surgeries have their correct phone numbers. It will be Pfizer for all patients. The handling instructions for that have changed and because of that we are able to do it directly from the surgery."

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