Health Minister urges people to get flu vaccination

Scottish Government Public Health Minister, ''Maureen Watt
Scottish Government Public Health Minister, ''Maureen Watt

Scotland’s Public Health Minister has re-issued the call for everyone eligible for a flu vaccination to get it following reports of an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital with severe infection due to current strains of the flu virus.

So far 75% of the over 65s and 49% of those with an underlying condition in the Borders have been vaccinated against flu.

Dr Tom Patterson, flu immunisation co-ordinator in the Borders, said: “It’s very important that people aged 65 and over, those with health conditions, pregnant women, and unpaid carers get vaccinated to reduce the risk of catching flu and suffering serious complications.

“There is an increasing awareness that flu is much worse than the common cold.

“It is an illness that can strike suddenly and cause serious health issues for those at risk, as evidenced by the rise in recent hospital admissions.

“It is crucial that those who are eligible protect themselves as soon as possible.”

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “Flu can be a very serious illness, and over the last few weeks, a significant number of people have been admitted to hospitals in Scotland with severe life threatening complications of flu infection.

“Our message to those who are eligible and haven’t yet had their flu vaccination is not to be complacent - don’t leave it to chance.”

“We know viruses are circulating and you’re at greater risk of experiencing complications if you catch the flu virus.

“Your GP practice will administer the vaccine and it takes around 14 days to work.

“The flu vaccine offered this season is a good match for the circulating strains being detected and is expected to provide good levels of protection. Even if you were immunised last winter, it’s important to receive the vaccine again as viruses change each season.”

For further information about the vaccine, contact NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88 or visit www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/flu