Figures Reveal That Many Are Still to Get Vaccinated for Flu
People in Forth Valley who are eligible for the flu vaccine are being urged to get protected before the end of the year.
New uptake figures for the region show the percentage of people yet to be vaccinated, and the call has been issued to ensure those with underlying health conditions and parents of children aged 2-5 contact their GP practice to arrange their vaccination to reduce the risk of catching flu.
The figures, revealed today, highlight those still to receive the vaccine include:
- 58 per cent of people under 65 with underlying health problems such as asthma
- 64 per cent of pregnant women
- 56 per cent of 2-5 year olds
People with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, those with lowered immunities and women who are pregnant, can be hit harder by flu and suffer more serious complications, even if they are generally fit and healthy.
This year’s vaccination programme has been extended to include 2-11 year olds, as they are two to three times more likely to be ill with flu than adults.
Approximately 550,000 children will be given the nasal flu vaccine this year. Parents of children aged 2-5 who are not yet in school should contact their GP practice to arrange their vaccination. Children aged 5-11 are being offered the vaccination in school.
Dr Nicola Steedman, Senior Medical Officer for the Scottish Government Flu campaign, said:
“Flu can strike suddenly and it’s important to be prepared. If you have a long-term medical condition, the best way to protect yourself against the serious effects of flu is to get vaccinated, even if you are feeling perfectly well. The flu vaccination is quick and easy – it only takes a few minutes to get, but will offer protection for around a year.
“It is vital we ensure that children are also protected from flu as youngsters are two to three times more likely to be ill with flu than adults. Children aged 2-5 who aren’t yet at school can be vaccinated by their doctor, whilst 5-11 year olds are being vaccinated at school to make it even easier to get the vaccine. Every year we see examples of how serious flu can be for children – they may have little immunity to the infection and the virus can develop into more serious health complications for them including pneumonia.”
Dr Henry Prempeh, Flu Immunisation Co-ordinator at NHS Forth Valley, added:
“It’s very important that children aged 2-5, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions get vaccinated to reduce the risk of catching flu and suffering serious complications. I urge all those who are eligible for the flu vaccine to speak with their GP practice to arrange their free vaccination. Remember to contact your GP practice to arrange for 2-5 year olds not yet at school to be vaccinated at their local GP surgery.”
“Catching flu can cause unnecessary worry for friends and family as well as posing a risk of spreading the virus to more vulnerable members of society. It is much worse than a bad cold and survives better when it is chilly outside. Flu viruses will circulate across Scotland as we move further into winter so make sure you get protected as soon as possible.”
If you would like to find out more information about the flu vaccine, contact NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88 or log on to www.immunisationscotland.org.uk.