Around one million people in the UK could be at risk of having a fatal asthma attack because they do not intend to get the flu vaccine this winter, according to new estimates by Asthma UK.
A YouGov survey of 1,010 adults with asthma revealed that almost a quarter will not have the flu vaccine. According to Asthma UK, if this proportion is applied to the number of people with asthma in the UK, almost one million people in the UK with asthma could be at risk.
‘People with asthma who are shunning the flu jab could be playing Russian Roulette with their life. The majority of people with asthma say colds and flu are their top trigger so it makes sense for them to try and protect themselves by getting the flu jab,' said Dr. Andy Whittamore, Clinical Lead at Asthma UK.
A third of people with asthma (31%) said they weren’t going to have the flu vaccine because they were worried about the side effects and a similar proportion (27%) were sceptical about whether it would work. Research shows that cold and flu is the top cause of asthma attacks for 8 in 10 people with asthma.
‘Unfortunately, there are lots of myths about the flu jab not working, causing side effects or causing flu, and our research shows this is preventing people from getting it,’ added Dr Whittamore. ‘In fact, the vaccine can’t give you flu, the side effects are minimal and it could save people’s lives by preventing a life-threatening asthma attack. We are urging people to get the facts about flu so they can make an informed decision.’