Scots urged to get flu jab as winter infections expected to be worse than usual

Scots urged to get flu jab as winter infections expected to be worse than usual.

Free flu vaccines are being offered to more Scots than ever before after the eligible groups were extended.

Free flu vaccines are being offered to more Scots than ever before after the eligible groups were extended.

Thousands of people are treated in hospital each year because of flu and medics fear this winter will be worse than usual because of lower immunity levels as a result of the coronavirus precautions.

An estimated four million Scots – almost three quarters of the population – will be eligible for the vaccination from September.

Anyone over the age of 50 will be eligible. as well as younger people with underlying health conditions, children over two and pregnant women.

All health and social care staff, including unpaid carers, are also able to be vaccinated, in addition to teachers, prison staff and inmates, NHS contractors and those working in the Covid-19 testing programme.

The flu vaccination programme will run from September until March 2022, with anyone who is eligible being urged to take up the offer as soon as possible to protect themselves and others, and help the NHS and social care services avoid additional pressure during winter.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Flu can be extremely serious and is very infectious.

“With Covid-19 still circulating in the community, we can best protect the people of Scotland by encouraging everyone eligible to get vaccinated against flu too.

“That’s why this flu season, we are extending the vaccination programme and offering the flu vaccine to around four million people in Scotland.

“This will help to protect those most at risk as well as ease pressure on our National Health Service and social care services.

“The vaccines are safe and the best way to help protect you, and others, from flu this winter.”

Scotland’s deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nicola Steedman, added: “The public health measures put in place to help fight against Covid-19 meant that the circulation of flu viruses was very low last season.

“As restrictions continue to lift and we get back to living our lives more normally it is important this year, more than ever, that you receive your flu vaccine if you are eligible, and before flu starts to spread widely.

“It only takes a few minutes to be vaccinated, and it helps to provide protection from flu for the period of time that flu is likely to be circulating in Scotland.

“The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) has also published interim advice on providing a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to those eligible in the autumn.

“Any such extension to the vaccine programme would run alongside the vital flu programme, to protect those at risk from flu this winter.

“We will take this into account while we await the final JCVI recommendations.

“But we urge people not to forget about flu, and to come forward for their flu vaccination this year.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub