Respiratory illnesses are on the rise, protect yourself and loved ones with a vaccine this winter

People eligible to receive winter respiratory illness vaccines are being urged to come forward for vaccination to ensure they are protected before returning to school and work in the New Year. The number of cases of flu is on the increase across Wales.

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Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) has confirmed its vaccination centres will be open after Christmas from Wednesday 27 December and throughout January to make it as easy as possible for people to protect themselves.

Flu can be a serious illness and it is important that we all act to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

It is particularly important that people with underlying chronic conditions are vaccinated as it protects them against having a severe illness. It is also important that children aged two and three year-olds receive their nasal flu vaccine. Last year, flu was the primary reason nearly 800 children aged 2-16 years old were admitted to hospital across Wales.

Complications from flu can include bronchitis, pneumonia and ear infections. The vaccine reduces the chance of children and young people becoming very unwell and helps reduce spreading flu to friends and family who are at high risk, such as young babies, grandparents, and those with long-term health conditions.

Parents can find out more about the nasal flu vaccine on the Public Health Wales website at phw.nhs.wales/vaccines

Dr Ardiana Gjini, Executive Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “This week, Public Health Wales has published data showing recorded flu cases more than doubled in the past three weeks.

“The latest data shows a significant increase in influenza test positivity in Wales, rising from 2.4 percent in the week ending November 27 to 4.4 percent in the week ending December 11.

“Reports also show the percentage of flu-related calls to NHS 111 Wales increased to 21.2 percent, up from 18.7 percent the previous week.

“The chances of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 or flu are greatly reduced by vaccination, as is the risks of spreading these viruses.

“If you are eligible for a flu or COVID-19 vaccine, it means you are at greater risk of complications from these illnesses, or you live with or care for someone vulnerable. It’s not too late to come forward to be vaccinated. This way you will protect yourself and ensure you and your loved ones have the protection the vaccines offer before returning to school or work in the New Year.”

Having a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to protect against flu. With both flu and Covid-19 circulating this winter, it is vital all those eligible get both vaccines as soon as possible.

It’s never been easier to get protected from common winter respiratory illnesses with drop-in clinics continuing after Christmas and throughout January in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

People eligible for a flu vaccine who are aged 18 and over can drop-in to a vaccination centre, no appointment is needed. Anyone under 18 years old who needs a flu vaccine is asked to contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 or email ask.hdd@wales.nhs.uk to arrange their vaccine.

People eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine aged 12 and over can drop-in, no appointment needed but if you need to arrange a COVID-19 vaccine for someone under 12 years old, please contact the health board on the details above.

Vaccination centre drop-in opening times:

Cwm Cou (Ysgol Trewen, Newcastle Emlyn SA38 9PE) – 9.30am to 5.30pm, Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 December. From 2 January, the centre is open 9.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Llanelli (Unit 2a, Dafen Industrial Estate, Heol Cropin, SA14 8QW) – 9.30am to 5.30pm Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 December. From 2 January, the centre is open 9.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Thursday.
Neyland (Unit 1 Honeyborough Retail Park, SA73 1SE) – 9.30am to 5.30pm, Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 December. From 2 January, the centre is open 9.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Carmarthen (Wanderers Cricket Club, Trinity Fields, Johnstown, SA31 3NE) – 9.30am to 5.30pm every Friday starting 5 January.
If you have any questions about the vaccine or your eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 or by emailing ask.hdd@wales.nhs.uk and we’ll be happy to advise you.

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