At-risk groups urged to get flu vac­cine

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Staff re­porter

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.”

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 per cent com­pared with a Scot­tish aver­age of 73 per cent and were se­cond high­est for the un­der 65 at-risk group. They also achieved top place in the car­ers cat­e­gory with a 58 per cent suc­cess rate com­pared with the Scot­tish aver­age of 47 per cent.

Visit www.ready­for­flu. scot or phone NHS In­form on 0800 22 44 88.

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