Not too late to get a flu jab

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The flu virus is now circulating in Scotland and anyone who is eligible for the vaccine but hasn’t had it yet is advised to make an appointment sooner rather than later.

Chris Faldon, nurse consultant at NHS Borders, said: “Flu is a serious illness which can be life threatening and kills more people in this country than any other vaccine-preventable disease.

“So far we have had a good response of people getting their flu jabs. The vaccine is the safest and most effective way to keep you and your family protected from flu.

“I would urge anyone who is eligible for the vaccine to get it. If you have not received an invitation from your GP practice, you should contact them to arrange a slot to get vaccinated - it is not too late.

“If you are 16 years old or over and not in one of the eligible groups for the free flu immunisation, you can still get the vaccine in many high street pharmacies for a small fee. It only takes a few minutes to get immunised and it’ll help to keep you well over the winter.”

The flu vaccine, available free to people with health conditions, the over 65s and pregnant women, remains the best defence against the virus.

On average, 1,918 people are hospitalised for flu or its complications each year in Scotland. This winter, the Scottish Government has bought more of the vaccine than last year in response to higher demand.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “We want everyone in Scotland who is at greater risk from the dangers of flu to be protected.

“With winter here and cold weather setting in, NHS advice is to prioritise the flu vaccine, to avoid developing complications that can lead to hospitalisation

“Our message today is that it’s not too late to get vaccinated against flu. The vaccine is still being offered at GP practices, is safe, and provides protection for up to a year.”