NHS TAYSIDE is encouraging members of the public in at-risk groups, as well as healthcare workers, to take up the offer of a free seasonal flu vaccination.
The vaccine, which gives protection against three strains of seasonal flu including swine flu, is available free of charge from GP practices for people in at-risk groups, pregnant women, those aged 65 years of age and over and unpaid carers.
All NHS Tayside staff and volunteers are also encouraged to take up the offer of a flu jab at staff clinics and participating community pharmacies across Tayside to protect themselves and vulnerable patients who may be more likely to suffer complications from flu.
NHS Tayside director of public health Dr Drew Walker, who received his flu vaccination at Ninewells last week, said: “Flu can be a serious illness, even in fit, healthy people.
“It makes people feel extremely unwell for many days and full recovery normally takes a week. Even fit and healthy people can develop more serious consequences and can require hospitalisation.
“For those in the at-risk groups, the complications of seasonal flu can be deadly. The best way to be protected is to get the jab and the earlier the better as this will stop flu from spreading to others who might be at risk.
“The vaccine is normally just one jab administered by a health professional. It only takes a few moments and offers protection for around a year.”
NHS Tayside chairman Sandy Watson, who was also vaccinated, said: “Healthcare staff can unintentionally pass the flu virus on to patients, and if the patients are ill, elderly or suffering from a chronic condition, this can lead to serious illness.
“I would urge all NHS Tayside staff and volunteers to take up the offer of a free flu jab, which is the most effective way to protect themselves and patients from seasonal flu.”
For more information on seasonal flu please visit www.immunisationscotland.org.uk or www.facebook.com/getthejab