Patients urged to do the 'jab dab' in flu vaccine campaign as winter weather sets in

Asthma patients have been urged to get their flu vaccines and do the "jab dab" to encourage others as medics warn of the dangers facing people with the condition.

Thousands of people across the North East have been receiving letters from their GPs inviting them for a flu vaccine as part of the annual jab programme.

NHS critical care staff demonstrating the 'jab dab'

NHS critical care staff demonstrating the 'jab dab'

People with asthma are one of the groups particularly recommended to get the jab, with 90% of sufferers saying viruses such as colds and flu can trigger their symptoms.

NHS England (North Cumbria and the North East) is encouraging patients with the condition to get their vaccination as soon as possible - and take part in its #JabDab social media campaign.

When anyone gets their flu jab, they are being asked to spread the word about the importance of getting the vaccine by taking a selfie while doing the "dab" after they have had their jab, and posting it on social media platforms along with the #JabDab hashtag.

Professor Chris Gray, NHS England’s medical director for Cumbria and the North East, said: “If someone with asthma gets flu, it can cause the lining of their airways to swell and narrow, and become even more sensitive. This can make asthma symptoms worse and can increase the risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

Professor Chris Gray, NHS Englands medical director for Cumbria and the North East

Professor Chris Gray, NHS Englands medical director for Cumbria and the North East

“If you have asthma and have been invited by your GP to get the flu jab, the sooner you have it the better, as it takes up to two weeks for people to be fully protected by the vaccine. By protecting yourself, you are also protecting your family and friends.”

Mr Fitt, who is the patient featured in a #JabDab animation, to help promote the campaign, joins other celebrities and sports people famous for doing in the ‘dab’ including Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, Tom Hanks, Prince Harry and Hillary Clinton.

Glen Wilson, a consultant in public health and the screening and immunisation lead for NHS England Cumbria and North East, said: “Asthma attacks hospitalise someone every eight minutes in the UK.

"The simple act of getting the flu vaccine can help prevent some of these admissions. The #JabDab is a fun and creative way of promoting the vaccine and some really important messages, and we look forward to seeing people of all ages doing the ‘dab’ for the jab across social media platforms."

Asthma UK’s in-house GP, Dr Andy Whittamore, added: "If you have asthma and have been invited by your GP to have the flu jab you should act now and arrange to have the vaccine. This is especially important if you have severe asthma or have been prescribed a preventer inhaler, or have needed steroid tablets in the last year."

As well as asmtha sufferers, other groups eligible for the free flu vaccine include:

· Adults 65 and over

· People with certain long term health conditions

· Pregnant woman

· Children aged two and three

· School children up to year four