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Free vaccine for those most ‘at risk’ of flu THE ANNUAL flu immunisation

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Influenza_Header 2(2)THE ANNUAL flu immunisation programme in Wales is now underway in time for the coming flu season. Health and Social Services Minister, Mark Drakeford AM, has lead the way by pledging to beat flu and endorsing the free vaccine for those most ‘at risk’ of flu and its complications. The annual programme aims to ensure that the people who need it most get free protection each year against flu. This includes everyone aged 65 and over, people with certain long term health conditions and pregnant women. Carers, volunteers providing care or providing first aid in organised public events, as well as Community First Responders, are also entitled to the vaccine, which is delivered to adults as a small injection in the arm. The flu vaccine for children, aged 2 years and over, is a nasal spray.

After the success of last year’s first phase of the introduction of routine flu vaccine for children, the nasal spray flu vaccine for children is this year also being rolled out to all four year olds, as well as those aged two or three years old, and school year 7 pupils. The younger children will have the spray in their GP practice and Year 7 pupils will receive their nasal spray vaccine in school. Professor Drakeford warns people they must also pledge to beat flu and have the vaccine for free if they are eligible, to protect themselves and those they care for: “Flu can be life threatening to people who are particularly at risk, and it continues to kill people every year. People can also pledge to beat flu by reminding eligible relatives and friends to get their flu vaccine this autumn.

“We run this programme to make sure this doesn’t happen unnecessarily, when flu can be prevented quickly and simply.” Last year, more than two thirds (68.3%) of people aged 65 or over had their vaccination but only half (51.1%) of people in ‘at risk’ groups under the age of 65 got protected. Dr Richard Roberts, Head of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme in Public Health Wales, added: “The giant flu bugs (pictured with the Minister) will be travelling around Wales this autumn and winter trying to give you flu – so make sure you get protected early!

“Each year the flu bugs circulating and causing people to be ill change, so even if you had the vaccine last year you must have it again now – because the old one will no longer protect you. Flu can’t usually be treated but it can be largely prevented through one simple vaccination, so make sure you beat flu before it beats you!” Each year the flu vaccine is changed to match any new circulating strains of the flu virus.

Most NHS flu vaccines are given in GP surgeries, but the vaccine is also available in some community pharmacies. Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by a virus that affects the lungs and airways. Symptoms generally come on suddenly, and can include fever, chills, headache, cough, body aches and fatigue. The flu virus is spread via droplets which are sprayed into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Direct contact with contaminated hands or surfaces can also spread infection. It can spread rapidly, especially in closed communities such as hospitals, residential homes and schools. Readers can find out more about how to get their free vaccine by visiting www. beatflu.org.uk orwww.curwchffliw.org. uk, or finding Beat Flu or Curwch Ffliw on twitter and facebook.

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New videos launched to support care for children and young patients

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Hywel Dda - Children's services

PARENTS, carers of children and young people are being reminded that they can still access 24/7 minor injury care for children at Withybush General Hospital, or during daytime hours at Tenby Walk-in Centre and Cardigan Integrated Care Centre.

Hywel Dda University Health Board has created a series of new information videos explaining the types of care that we are currently able to provide for children and younger patients following the temporary move of the Paediatric Ambulatory Care Unit (PACU) at Withybush.

Minor injury units can treat adults and children over 12-months of age, with minor injuries such as the following:

Minor wounds
Minor burns or scalds
Insect bites
Minor limb, head, or face injuries
Foreign bodies in the nose or ear

Minor injury units are run by an experienced team of highly skilled specially-trained emergency nurse practitioners, triage nurses and health care support workers. Some are located on main hospital sites, which have emergency departments as well, and others are in community-based health care centres.

Bethan Thomas, an Emergency Nurse Practitioner in the Minor Injuries Unit at Withybush General Hospital, said: “Part of my role frequently involves treating children and young people with minor injuries, and we can do this quite quickly in the emergency department at Withybush so that those patients can return home having been seen and given care.”

Children with serious illnesses or injuries will be seen at Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen or Bronglais General Hospital in Aberystwyth. In an emergency, please dial 999.

In the videos, which are available to view on the Health Board’s website, and on social media, Consultant Paediatrician Dr Didi Ratnasinghe also explains what parents need to be aware of and how to access care if their child has a respiratory illness, while fellow Paediatrician Dr Prem Kumar gives an insight into what to expect if your child needs to stay in hospital for treatment.

Emergency medicine Consultant Dr Nicola Drake provides an explanation of other childhood medical emergencies, and when parents need to call 999 for an ambulance to take a child to Glangwili or Bronglais.

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Community

Bright new community space opens in centre of Haverfordwest

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AN EXCITING new community space has opened in the Riverside Shopping Centre in Haverfordwest.

Based in the former Wimpy building, @No5 Riverside offers a community café, ‘Library of Things’ and employment support – all in one town centre location.

It follows a 6-month renovation project by Norman Industries as part of its supported employment programme, with funding from Welsh Government.

“The café will be a fantastic resource offering dedicated sessions to a wide range of community groups, including people with dementia or a learning disability, carers, and gentlemen’s groups,” said Cllr Tessa Hodgson, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services.

Known as ‘Caffi Cyfle’ (cyfle is the Welsh word for ‘opportunity’) the café is open 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. It is fully inclusive – please ask how to book a quiet time or about suitable food options.

Karen Davies, Programme Manager, said the café menu has been designed by Pembrokeshire’s neuro diverse community.

Pictured (left to right) are Jonathan Griffiths (Director of Social Services); Cllr Cris Tomos; Matthew Page, Café Assistant; Cllr Tessa Hodgson; Karen Davies and Marty Andrews, Café Manager.

“The simple hot menu is designed to provide meals suitable for people of all ages removing the food that is often left on the side of the plate,” she said. “The small plate option recognises that people with small appetites want to be able to buy an appropriately sized meal saving money and food waste.”

The café will also offer training and employment to people with barriers to employment including people with neurodiversity conditions.

“We know that the hospitality sector has challenges recruiting staff and yet there is a large pool of people who could work in this industry given the right training and support,” said Karen.

“People with impairment and difference make excellent employees with low levels of absence and high levels of commitment. We already run a café in Milford Haven run by people with learning disability. We want to show the sector how this can be achieved in a busy town centre café environment.”

The Library of Things offers people the opportunity to borrow items that they can’t afford or don’t want to buy.

People can borrow a wide range of things such as a gazebo, lawnmower, pressure washer, wheelbarrow, children’s games or fancy dress.

“Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “We all have items that we have bought for one job, which have then sat in our cupboards gather dust never to be used again.

“Now we have the opportunity to reduce the use of precious resources by borrowing the item rather than buying it for a fraction of the cost.

The Library of Things offers people the opportunity to borrow items that they can’t afford or don’t want to buy.

“The Library of Things is a fantastic opportunity for people in Pembrokeshire to contribute towards actions for the environment.”

The unit at No.5 Riverside stood empty for a number of years and took a significant investment to bring it back to life. Financial support was provided by a Circular Economy grant to support town centre regeneration from the Welsh Government.

Riverside Shopping Centre Manager Nigel Stroper said he was delighted to welcome @No5 to the Riverside Shopping Centre.

“I have been so impressed with the efforts of all concerned with this enterprise which brings real points of difference to both the shopping centre and town centre, the staff are so enthusiastic – they are a credit to the work done by Norman Industries,” he said.

“I am confident this is a great step forward in the regeneration work beginning in our lovely little town.”

Local County Councillor Tom Tudor said it was a great initiative. “This is an excellent facility and very much welcomed for the centre of town,” he said. ”We wish it every success.”

Also based @No5 are the staff from Employability Pembrokeshire. During the day, the upstairs space will be used as a drop in space so that people can meet with the mentors from a wide range of employment projects that support progress into work. The team at Employability Pembrokeshire can help with training, work experience and getting paid work. For people with a disability they can also help to assess and put in place support to ensure people have success in the work place.

To borrow an item from the Library of Things, please visit www.pembrokeshirecircle.org and follow the share link. Items can also be booked at the counter in @No5 where the fantastic team are available to help.

Are you thinking about throwing away something that still works or could be repaired? Why not donate the item to the library so that others can use it? Items are repaired, tested and made available to others reducing waste going to landfill. Items can be dropped off @No5 or at Norman Industries.

To contact the community café, Caffi Cyfle, please phone 01437 776609 or email normanindustries@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or message the Caffi Cyfle facebook page. The café is open from Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 4pm.

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Protect yourself and others from Covid-19 this festive season

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is reminding people to think of the continuing risks from Covid variant when attending Christmas parties or other social gatherings this year.

Covid-19 has not gone away, and the emergence of the new Omicron variant is an added concern.

Although figures in Pembrokeshire have dropped slightly in the past few days, case numbers still remain in the higher half of the all-Wales table.

It is human nature to want to forget about Covid as the festive season approaches, especially following the disappointment when the tighter restrictions had to be brought in just before Christmas last year.

Christmas parties and other planned gatherings during this holiday season is one particular area people can take extra care when planning festive events and looking forward to the celebrations.

Please consider meeting in smaller group numbers than you might ordinarily, in a well ventilated location and try to avoid mixing with too many other people. Wear a well fitted face covering where required. Be extra careful if you have contact with any vulnerable person.

The take up of both the Covid vaccination booster, as well as the flu vaccine is as important as it’s ever been, now that we are seeing a new variant, so if you aren’t up to date with your vaccines and boosters we urge you to take up these offers.

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, said: ‘It is vital that members of the community remember the simple things we can all do to give ourselves the best protection against Covid-19 and slow down the spread.

‘Continue to work from home where you can, take up vaccination including the booster when offered, keep your distance where possible and use face coverings where required.

‘The protective measures will help make a difference to keep us safe, so please maintain hand hygiene, meet outdoors when the weather allows and let fresh air in if you are meeting indoors. Together we can ensure this Christmas is better than last year’s.’

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