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Woman says she was ‘stupid’ not to get flu jab after two weeks in hospital

Carole Hildreth, 64, was left needing oxygen and IV antibiotics in Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s respiratory ward in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

09 January 2023

A woman has said she was “stupid” not to get jabbed after being in hospital for two weeks weeks with flu and pneumonia.

Carole Hildreth, 64, was left needing oxygen and IV antibiotics in Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s respiratory ward in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, after being taken to hospital on Boxing Day when she became severely ill.

Ms Hildreth was left feeling exhausted and unable to walk to the toilet after contracting the infections, and vowed to “be the first in the queue” for a flu jab next year.

Flu jab demand
Ms Hildreth has urged people to get the flu jab (David Cheskin/PA)

She said: “Having flu like this came as a massive shock, totally out of the blue. Looking back, not having the vaccine was just stupid. I’m always healthy and I felt invincible I suppose – we have had a number of vaccines throughout the pandemic.

“I’ve been in hospital for nearly two weeks, first in the emergency department and then on a respiratory ward.

“I now struggle to get enough energy to walk to the toilet – never mind chasing after my grandchildren like I usually do, and I even have to plan if I have enough energy to brush my teeth.

“I haven’t been able to fault the care I’ve received. The NHS staff kept me alive and got me going again. It’s so busy when you get to the emergency department, but they immediately swung into action and helped me and did their very best.

“I’d say to others to please think carefully – this has been devastating and put me back on track of being up-to-date with my vaccinations. I’d urge everyone please, please, please, if you get the chance to have a vaccine, take it. I’ll be first in the queue next time.”

The latest data shows there were 5,500 patients in hospital with flu last week and more than 9,000 patients with Covid.

Almost 20 million people have had a flu jab and more than 17 million people have had a Covid booster, but health bosses say there are still a number of eligible people who are yet to take up their winter vaccinations.

Those eligible for the flu jab include all over 50s, health and social care workers, people aged six months and over and considered “at risk” due to another medical condition, as well as pregnant women and children aged two and three.

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