Mayor of London urges people to stay well this winter as he gets influenza vaccination

10 Nov 2016 11:42 AM

Sadiq Khan has had his influenza vaccination – and urged others eligible for a free jab to protect themselves against the potentially life threatening illness.

It came as the Mayor of London backed the national Stay Well This Winter campaign launched by Public Health England and NHS England.

He joined calls encouraging people more at risk from cold weather, including those with long term health conditions and the over 65s, to prepare for lower temperatures.

The Mayor of London had his influenza vaccination at a Public Health England and NHS England London clinic held at City Hall for Greater London Authority staff.

The Mayor of London was eligible for a free influenza jab on the NHS as he suffers from adult onset asthma and is therefore in an at risk group.

Children aged between two and seven, adults with a long term health condition, pregnant women and people aged over 65 are eligible for a free influenza vaccination as part of the biggest ever influenza vaccination programme in England.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m delighted to support the Stay Well This Winter campaign. As an asthma sufferer, I understand the importance of keeping the flu at bay by getting my annual jab. I urge all Londoners to do the same and protect yourself and others against the flu to enter the festive season in full health.”

Deputy Director of Health Protection for London at Public Health England London, Dr Deborah Turbitt, said: “I am delighted that the Mayor of London is supporting the influenza vaccination programme, which is part of the national Stay Well This Winter campaign.

“I encourage everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to have it. It provides the best protection against an unpredictable, potentially life-threatening virus. It is about protecting you, your family and others.

“I also urge people to look after themselves and look out for their loves ones and neighbours this winter, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable. With winter on the way now is the time to ensure that you and people you know are as well prepared for winter as possible.”

The NHS is offering free workplace pop-up clinics to large employers. City Hall is leading the way by being one of the first to take this offer up.

NHS England (London) Interim Medical Director and London GP Dr Mark Spencer said: “Winter is a particularly busy period for the NHS and we’re working hard so that London’s NHS is prepared for increased pressures.

“At every opportunity throughout winter, we will be encouraging Londoners to play their part by taking practical steps to stay well. This includes getting immunised against flu – it’s easy to forget that for some people, flu can lead to potentially more serious problems and so we strongly urge everyone in the ‘at risk’ group to receive their vaccine, especially children who are more likely to get the flu and pass it on to friends and elderly relatives.

“If you start to feel unwell and you need advice, call 111 or speak to your local pharmacist.”

Every winter about 25,000 more people die than at other times of the year. About 80 per cent of these deaths are among people with circulatory diseases such as heart disease, lung illnesses and stroke, dementia and respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Colder weather and the flu season also leads to increased pressure on health services during the winter months.

Meanwhile exposure to the cold increases blood pressure, and increases the risk of heart failure, kidney disease, stroke and dementia. Cold weather can also affect the respiratory system can increase the likelihood of blood clotting, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

People are also urged to ensure their homes are heated to at least 18°C (65°F) and to keep an eye on elderly relatives and neighbours and those at increased risk of illness during winter.

For more information about the Stay Well This Winter campaign visit