North Yorkshire residents urged to get Covid-19 and flu vaccines to protect themselves and the NHS this winter
and live on Freeview channel 276
Health bosses are emphasising that vaccination is the best way to protect people from serious illness and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.
After what was the busiest summer on record, the NHS is preparing for a challenging winter – a period in which respiratory illnesses are more widespread.
For many, the winter period can be a source of concern and worry.
People with respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, can be particularly susceptible to the effects of cold weather, finding themselves short of breath and coughing more than usual.
Both viruses can be life-threatening and for some people, catching Covid-19 and flu at the same time increases the risk of serious illness, especially older people or those who already have health conditions.
Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire's Director of Public Health, said: “We expect to see a wave of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire during October and November and possibly another in January.
"There’s also the risk of being hit with a wave of flu cases at the same time so it’s particularly important that people take up the offer of vaccinations as soon as they can.
"Please also remember the basics – hands, face, space and fresh air.
"They protect against Covid-19, flu and lots of other nasty viruses that can make you feel quite unwell.”
In our region, the number of patients occupying a hospital bed with Covid-19 has risen by 50 per cent in the last month – with modelling suggesting half of beds across the Humber and North Yorkshire health and care system could be taken up by patients suffering from respiratory illnesses.
It is therefore very important that everyone eligible, is vaccinated for Covid-19 and has had their autumn booster.
Harrogate GP Dr Bruce Willoughby, for the Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership, said: “This winter, we need you to keep doing everything you can to keep each other safe.
“Health and care services in North Yorkshire and York, like everywhere, are already extremely busy.
"We do expect to see more cases of Covid-19 in the coming weeks as people mix freely again and spend more time indoors as the weather gets colder.
"The risk of catching Covid-19 is highest indoors and in crowded places.
“More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the pandemic.
"The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before it starts spreading.
“You can help though.
"Your actions during the pandemic made an enormous difference and we need people to look out for each other in the same way again.”
People aged 50 and over, pregnant women, carers, frontline health and care workers, care home residents and people of all ages who are vulnerable are eligible for a Covid booster jab now.
Those who are eligible to book their vaccinations can do so by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or call 119.