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I’m getting the flu jab for my grandad

Mathew discusses why he is getting the flu jab this year, he not only wants to keep himself safe, but also protect his grandad, who is shielding.

As I write this, the weather prediction for the week ahead is 10 degrees colder than it is today. With the leaves starting to turn yellow it is officially the first day of Autumn.

For me, the season means a few things: a frustrating few weeks of never knowing which coat I should wear, waterproofing my walking boots for lots of leafy walks and booking an appointment for my flu jab.

Why I get the flu jab

I’m not the usual target demographic for the jab - I'm relatively young, I don't have a health condition, and I don't qualify for a free jab. But I’m doing it for several reasons.

Firstly, I’ve been sick with the flu before. It was around 4 years ago. I was younger and as fit as I am today. But I was bed-bound for a whole week, and at one point it was so bad my GP said if my temperature wouldn't go down, I might have to be admitted to hospital. Imagine if that was to happen in the next few months.

We’ve been told the infection rate of the virus in Wales might be at its highest on Christmas day, meaning that in the peak period of the flu season our NHS will be fighting the second wave of COVID-19.  Therefore, every bed, every nurse, every doctor, and every member of the great team in our NHS will be fighting to keep our loved ones safe. My effort to make sure there are beds for our loved ones is a key reason I’m getting the flu jab.

Protecting my grandad

This leads to my second reason, my grandad. My grandad has COPD and has been shielding since the start of the pandemic, fearing that if he catches COVID-19 he may not be strong enough to fight off the virus.

The last time I saw him was at the beginning of the year and, in more normal times, we usually would have met up many times by now. My summers with my grandad usually involve long walks, cycling and catching up in his sunny garden. Naturally we would be discussing his favourite sport, cycling, and no doubt the results of the Tour De France (the theme music usually gets stuck in my head all summer).

But this year it was different, I didn't get the opportunity to catch up with him, to walk around Dorset where he lives or to go cycling on the new bike that he gave me only last year.

I am getting the flu jab for him, so that when I can see him, I can do so without the fear of passing on the flu to him. I will be able to enjoy seeing him again and spend more time with him while I still can.

This year, the NHS are rolling out their biggest ever flu vaccine programme. Find out if you're eligible for a free flu jab today. If you're not eligible, you can get your vaccine at your local pharmacy or pharmacy counter for a small cost.

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3 November 2020