15,000 over 65s miss out on new flu jab

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NHS Borders is phasing in a new flu vaccine over the next two years for the over 65s, but only the over 75s will get the new vaccine this winter.

When Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton asked the First Minister about the lack of the new flu vaccination for people aged 65-75, Nicola Sturgeon admitted that ‘supply issues’ were to blame for over 65s not receiving the new flu vaccination. The NHS north of the border did not order the new jab until March this year.

More than 15,000 pensioners in the Scottish Borders will be offered a trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) this year, while the over 75s will be offered a offered an Adjuvanted trivalent inactivated flu vaccine (aTIV). This is in line with instructions received by Scottish health boards from the Government’s Chief Medical Officer Directorate in August this year.

NHS Borders said: “Free flu vaccinations are offered to people in ‘at risk’ groups: people aged 65 and over, children, healthcare workers, pregnant women and people with long term conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis or heart and liver diseases.

“A new adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV) has recently been recommended for use to compensate for the weaker immune systems of older people. Over the next couple of years we are phasing in aTIV starting with those aged 75 and over this winter, followed by those aged 65 and over next winter.

“Flu is a serious illness which can be life threatening. The flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to keep people protected from flu, which is why we encourage those eligible to take advantage of the free flu vaccine.”

Ms Hamilton said: “The potential additional pressure on the NHS this winter as a lack of forward planning from the SNP Government could have been avoided with the timely ordering of the new flu vaccination. Older people in the Borders may well be concerned that they are not receiving the same service as people in England.”