Two new NHS videos highlight the impact of the potentially deadly flu virus.
They also call on everyone eligible to get their free flu vaccination this winter.
People featured include a schoolboy who nearly died from flu, a mum-to-be, community leaders and medical personnel.
Henry Riley, a previously healthy nine-year-old, was so ill with the virus that he had to be cared for round the clock in a children’s intensive care unit and then learn to walk again.
As Henry was carried out to the ambulance, he asked his mum, Janine, if he was going to die.
Janine said: “It felt unreal that this child who was fit and healthy a few hours ago was now in a children’s intensive care unit.
“Having experienced a child almost die from flu, there is nothing scarier than that, and you are absolutely doing the best to protect your child by giving them the vaccine.”
Thankfully Henry, from Cornwall, has made a full recovery, but his plea to everyone eligible for their flu jab is simple.
He wants people to know that “...it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated this winter.”
Starring alongside Henry are a pregnant mum, a Cornish GP, a Bristol pharmacist, a SWAST paramedic, a nurse and Abdul Tariq from the Bristol Muslim Community Group.
They, like Henry, are all backing the call for people to get a flu jab and boost their immunity to the virus this winter.
In an average year, flu hospitalises and kills thousands of people, but the NHS is warning that this is far from an average year.
Dr Julie Yates, Lead Consultant for Screening and Immunisation NHS England and NHS Improvement SW Region, said: “Measures that were in place because of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic last year, meant flu levels were extremely low. This means fewer people built up immunity against flu for this winter.
“We don’t know what the situation is going to be this year, but getting the flu vaccination, if you are eligible, is the best thing that you can do to help stop yourself becoming seriously poorly and needing hospital care, or from potentially making someone else very ill.
“Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and those you care for against flu.”
The NHS free flu vaccine is available to anyone:
- 50 years old and older
- With a long-term health condition
- Living in a residential care home
- Receiving a carers allowance or living with someone who is likely to get flu
- Health and social care workers
- School-aged children and children aged two and three
The videos are available to download at https://sw-comms-team.wetransfer.com/downloads/6a0cc1522c015543036c63bf374b92fa20211203172148/16a5509febd1ddd0a8d517948595d77420211203172148/bc7ab5
Vaccinations can be booked at GPs' surgeries and pharmacies.