Time is running out to get your flu jab this winter

Time is running out for Borders residents who are eligible for flu vaccines and who want to avoid getting it over the festive period.

NHS Borders is reminding everyone, especially those who are ‘at risk’, to get their annual flu vaccine as soon as possible. The vaccine takes about 14 days for you to be protected against the flu so it’s best to get it as early as possible to help protect you for the Christmas and new year period.

With three bays in the Department of Medicine for the Elderly (DME) Ward 10 at the Borders General Hospital remaining closed to admissions as a precaution due to the presence of confirmed Influenza A infection (flu) and routine visiting to DME is currently being discouraged, it is even more important now for Borderers to be protected.

People who are eligible for the free flu vaccine are: those aged 65 and over, under 65s with existing long-term medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and other heart, lung and liver diseases, pregnant women and unpaid carers of any age. Health and social care staff who deal directly with patients or clients are also recommended to receive the flu vaccine

This year’s vaccination programme has been extended to include 2-11 year olds and parents of children aged 2-5 who have yet to receive the vaccine should contact their GP practice to arrange their vaccination. Children aged 5-11 are being offered the vaccination in school.

Those still needing a flu jab include: 27% of people over 65 years; 50% of people under 65 with underlying health problems such as asthma; 48% of pregnant women; and 48 per cent of 2-3 year olds.

Last year’s vaccine may not protect against this year’s viruses so annual re-vaccination is advised by NHS Borders.