Flu increase prompts calls for those eligible to get jab

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Over 46 per cent of local people aged under 65 across Tayside who are eligible for the flu vaccine are yet to come forward for the jab as it is revealed the GP consultations for flu-like illness increased during December and January.

Health professionals across the country are reminding people who are ‘at risk’ to get their annual flu jab as soon as possible while the virus is still circulating.

People that are eligible for the free flu jab are: those aged 65 and over, under 65s with existing long-term medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and other heart, lung and liver diseases, pregnant women and unpaid carers of any age. Health and social care staff who deal directly with patients or clients are also recommended to receive the flu vaccine.

The Scottish Government’s flu campaign aims to highlight that flu is a serious illness and inform Scots that vaccination is the most effective protection from the virus. People who are ‘at-risk’ can be hit harder with flu and can suffer more complications.

NHS Tayside Director of Public Health Dr Drew Walker, said: “It is not too late for those who have not received their flu jab to do so. If you are in an ‘at risk’ group then it’s very important to ensure that you are protected from the virus as you can suffer from serious complications if you do catch flu.

“The flu virus survives better in the environment if it is cold and with winter conditions continuing to be forecast across the country flu viruses continue to circulate across Scotland.

“We would like to urge all remaining local people who are eligible for the flu jab to make an appointment with your GP to get the free vaccination as soon as you can.”

If you would like to find out more information about the flu jab, contact NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88 or log on to www.immunisationscotland.org.uk.