Get Set to Fight Flu

GPs across Forth Valley have begun vaccinating people against flu and people with health conditions which can make them more vulnerable to flu such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and bronchitis are being encouraged to make an appointment with their GP practice as soon as possible.

The vaccine is also offered to those aged 65 and over, pregnant women, carers and healthcare workers.

During the 2016/17 campaign NHS Forth Valley again achieved the highest uptake of the flu vaccine in the over 65 age group, with a rate of 76.5% compared with a Scottish average of 72.8%. Forth Valley also recorded the second highest number of people under 65 getting the jag with a local rate of 49% compared with a national average of 44.9%.

NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Henry Prempeh said: “The vaccine 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 book an appointment with their GP practice today. Open clinics are also being arranged. Please go along if you have been invited.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Dr Gregor Smith, added: “Over the last five years around 500 deaths have occurred each winter which can be attributable, or related to flu.

“While we don’t know which flu strain will dominate in Scotland this season, the news that the southern hemisphere has experienced its worst flu outbreak in years is a timely reminder that everyone at risk should help protect themselves against flu this winter by taking up the offer of the flu vaccine.”

GP practices across the NHS Forth Valley area are also are providing a free vaccine in the form of a nasal spray for children aged 2-5 and primary school children are being offered the vaccine at school.

To find out more about the seasonal flu vaccine visit Immunisation Scotland or call NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.