Barking and Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting the homeless in Barking and Dagenham this winter to receive free flu vaccinations.
A prevention drop-in clinic was set up in the borough to vaccinate, and help prevent the most vulnerable people in the community who live on the streets of Barking and Dagenham, from contracting the flu illness over the winter period.
Flu is a highly contagious viral infection and most common over the winter period. Anyone can catch flu, and those who are homeless are at high risk. The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce potential harm from the virus. The flu prevention clinics provided the vaccination free of charge, health advice, and further information on the wider services available within the local community.
Dr Raj Kumar, local GP said: “The cold weather, and often extreme temperatures in winter, can mean those who are homeless in our area are at high risk of developing flu. Not only can catching flu cause unnecessary trips to hospital, but flu for those who are homeless could be life threatening.”
The aim of the clinics was to reach out to those who do not usually proactively access healthcare, and check they are prepared and equipped to protect their health this winter.
Councillor Maureen Worby said: “Anyone who has ever experienced flu will know how awful it can be. However, most of us are fortunate that we can get better in a warm comfortable home with support from friends, and family. It would be difficult for the majority of us to consider being unwell and being homeless. This winter, we are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in Barking and Dagenham”
Throughout the year, help and support is available to those who are sleeping rough. A number of charitable and non-profit organisation provide support for homeless people. Further information, can be found on the Barking and Dagenham council website.