Forth Valley Tops For Flu Jab Uptake

People in Forth Valley have risen to the challenge to get a flu jab and have recorded the highest uptakes in mainland Scotland for several categories, including older people and primary school children. Latest figures show that 76% of people over 65 have been vaccinated in the Forth Valley area, compared with a Scottish average of 72%.

NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Dr Henry Prempeh, said: “Scotland as a whole has done extremely well in encouraging these target groups to come forward and Forth Valley continues to lead the way with the highest response. Whilst this is to be commended there is no room for complacency since over 20% of over 65s have still not been vaccinated. It’s important to remember that we are still in the flu season and I’d like to encourage older people across Forth Valley to take up the offer of a free vaccine at their local GP Practice.”

The NHS Forth Valley flu immunisation team  has also been extremely successful, with their campaign in local primary schools, recording the highest figure in mainland Scotland – 78% against a national average of 71%. And with the support of Falkirk Council, the number of carers vaccinated is also tops – 57% against a Scottish average of 45%.

Another area where NHS Forth Valley is performing well is vaccinating pregnant women with risk factors. The Health Board has been offering the vaccine to women while they attend maternity clinics at Forth Valley Royal Hospital which has helped increase uptake to   68%, compared with a national average of 60%.

In the under 65 ‘at risk’ group Forth Valley is currently the second highest in mainland Scotland, with 47% vaccinated against a Scottish average of 43%. ‘At risk’ includes those with existing long-term medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis, heart and other lung and liver diseases. To help boost numbers NHS Forth Valley’s immunisation team has also  recently started offering the vaccine to patients attending outpatient clinics and the Emergency Department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Commenting on the success rates, Dr Prempeh added: “The uptake rates we have achieved are the result of good partnership working as our campaign this year has involved GP practices, NHS Forth Valley staff, a dedicated Health Board immunisation team and Falkirk Council.”