More People in Forth Valley Offered Free Flu Vaccine

Flu vaccinations in Forth Valley are set to begin in late September/early October and this year, due to Covid-19, the programme is being expanded to protect those most at risk.

Social care workers, people over the age of 55 and household members of people who have been shielding will all be eligible for the free seasonal flu vaccine. The Scottish Government will look to extend this to those aged 50-54 if vaccine supplies allow.

This latest move is in addition to those previously eligible – those aged 65 and over, those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, children aged between 2 and 5, primary school pupils, healthcare workers and young unpaid carers.

NHS Forth Valley’s GP Clinical Lead, Dr Stuart Cumming, said: “We have been planning for some time how we deliver the vaccine this year. The current pandemic and the need for physical distancing have posed many challenges. An appointment system, booking larger premises, the possibility of a drive through programme and a larger role being played by community pharmacies are some of the options we have been looking at.

“People who are eligible will be notified of what is to happen in their local area so if you receive an invite letter please make arrangements to get the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, added: “The seasonal flu vaccine programme helps to protect the most vulnerable and alleviate pressure on the NHS. This will be more important than ever this year in light of the current pandemic.

“We want to reassure those who may now feel anxious about leaving home to get the vaccine. This is one of the ways you can support the NHS, yourself and others this winter.”

The specific target groups include those with chronic illnesses which can make flu much more dangerous, including people with heart disease, chest complaints such as bronchitis, emphysema or asthma, chronic kidney failure, cystic fibrosis, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment, diabetes or liver problems.

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