Four-fold increase in Borderers with flu

The Knoll hospital and health centre, Station Road, Duns
The Knoll hospital and health centre, Station Road, Duns

People eligible for the free flu vaccine in the Borders are being urged to get immunised.

There has been a four-fold increase in the number of people suffering from flu since the start of the year but 56% of people with a health condition in the Borders have yet to have the flu vaccine.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell is urging everyone eligible for the free flu vaccine to get immunised.

She said: “It is vitally important that people are aware of the steps they can take to avoid being struck down by flu, and realise that it’s not too late to get immunised.

“You can still make an appointment at your GP surgery even if they are no longer running dedicated clinics.

“The flu vaccine is free for those in higher risk groups and I would urge those who are eligible to take advantage of this.

“The vaccine offers the best defence against the most common types of flu circulating at the moment.

“Every year in Scotland around two thirds of people who get severe flu and need intensive care treatment have a health condition such as chronic lung or heart disease,” she continued.

“People with health conditions are at a greater risk and need the best available protection, which is the vaccine – no matter what age you are, how fit and healthy you feel, if you have a health condition including diabetes, asthma, bronchitis and heart disease, you are more vulnerable to flu.

“All pregnant women, at any stage of their pregnancy, should also get immunised – not only to help protect themselves, but to help protect their developing baby. Anyone aged 65 years or over is eligible too.

“Don’t risk it. It’s free, doesn’t take much time.

“For more information, visit www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/flu.”

Chris Faldon, immunisation coordinator for NHS Borders, added: “Anyone with an eligible health condition, people aged 65 years or over and women who are pregnant are urged to get the free flu vaccine as soon as possible if they have not already done so.”