There’s still time to get flu jab be­fore virus hits

Hamilton Advertiser - - NEWS - Staff re­porter

Peo­ple in La­nark­shire who are at risk of de­vel­op­ing com­pli­ca­tions from flu are be­ing ad­vised there is still time to get the flu vac­cine be­fore the virus hits.

The num­ber of re­ported cases of flu more than dou­bled last win­ter, with flu-like ill­ness at the high­est rate for seven years.

Dr David Cromie, con­sul­tant in pub­lic health medicine at NHS La­nark­shire, said:“flu isn’t cir­cu­lat­ing widely in Scot­land, as yet, so there’s still time to get the vac­cine and be pro­tected be­fore flu ill­nesses spread widely.

“Last win­ter was a par­tic­u­larly bad year for flu, which is why it’s so im­por­tant those who are at risk and el­i­gi­ble to get the vac­cine, even if they feel fit and healthy. It only takes a few min­utes and will help pro­tect you for around a year.”

This year’s flu vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme is al­ready un­der­way, of­fer­ing free flu vac­ci­na­tion to over two mil­lion peo­ple across Scot­land, in­clud­ing all peo­ple aged 65 and over, those aged six months and over with a health con­di­tion which puts them in an ‘at-risk’group such as asthma or di­a­betes, and chil­dren aged 2-5 and not yet in school.

This win­ter, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has bought more vac­cine than last year in re­sponse to higher de­mand and La­nark­shire prac­tices have vac­cines avail­able, at present.

And the Deputy Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer for Scot­land echoed the ben­e­fits of those el­i­gi­ble get­ting the vac­cine.

Deputy Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer, Gre­gor Smith, said:“as we ap­proach Christ­mas, it’s vi­tal that peo­ple are aware of the steps they can take to pro­tect them­selves against flu.

“With tem­per­a­tures drop­ping and win­ter set­ting in, I’d en­cour­age those who are el­i­gi­ble to pri­ori­tise get­ting the vac­cine – you can still make an ap­point­ment at your GP surgery even if they are no longer run­ning ded­i­cated clin­ics.

“It’s al­ways worth get­ting vac­ci­nated, as it’s the best de­fence against a virus which can be un­pre­dictable and se­ri­ous. Not only will you pro­tect your­self, but you’ll also be play­ing a part in help­ing stop the spread of the virus this win­ter.”

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion visit ready­for­flu.scot or phone NHS In­form on 0800 22 44 88.

Flu mis­ery Last year was par­tic­u­larly bad

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