Flu Vaccination Programme Begins In Forth Valley
People eligible for the flu vaccine are being urged to get protected ahead of winter as the flu vaccination programme gets underway in GP Practices and primary schools across Forth Valley.
This year’s vaccine offers protection against four strains for most age groups, and is designed to target people over the age 65 or those under 65 with chronic illnesses which can make flu much more dangerous. These include people with diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, chronic kidney failure, liver problems, cystic fibrosis, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment.
Pregnant women, unpaid carers and healthcare staff are also eligible for vaccination. GP Practices across the NHS Forth Valley area are also providing free vaccine in the form of a nasal spray for children aged two to five and primary school pupils are being offered the vaccine at school to help reduce the spread of the virus.
NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Henry Prempeh said: “Vaccination provides the best defence against flu and getting it early is vital. I’d encourage everyone eligible to make their flu vaccination a priority and make an appointment with their GP. Medical Practices are also arranging open clinics so please go along if you have been invited.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Last winter was a particularly bad year for flu, with a rise in the number of cases and hospitalisations. That’s why this year we want to ensure as many people as possible are protected from flu ahead of winter hitting.
“Flu can be extremely serious for those who are vulnerable and is very infectious. We can best protect the people of Scotland by encouraging everyone eligible to get vaccinated early. Not only will you protect yourself, but you’ll also be playing a part in helping stop the spread of the virus this winter.”
The following groups are eligible for the flu vaccine:
- Those aged 65 years of age and over ( this year a vaccine known as Fluad will be offered to those 75 and over)
- Those over 6 months of age with a medical condition which puts them in an ‘at risk’ group such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, heart and lung diseases, or autoimmune disorders.
- NHS Scotland workers
- Unpaid carers
- Pregnant women (including those with at risk conditions)
- Children aged 2-11 years old. 2-5 year olds and not yet in school will be vaccinated at their GP practice.
- 5-11 year olds will be vaccinated at school during the autumn term.
During the 2017/18 campaign, NHS Forth Valley again achieved the highest uptake of the flu vaccine in the over 65 age group with a rate of 76% compared with a Scottish average of 73% and were second highest for the under 65 at-risk group. They also achieved top place in the carers category with a 58% success rate compared with the Scottish average of 47%.
For more information visit www.readyforflu.scot or phone NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.