Advice is to get the flu jab as early as possible this autumn

editorial image

People in the NHS Ayrshire and Arran area who are eligible for the flu vaccine are being urged to act early and get protected ahead of winter.

Those eligible include: anyone aged 65 years and over; people over six months of age with a medical condition that puts them in an ‘at risk’ group such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, heart and lung diseases, or autoimmune disorders; NHS Scotland workers; unpaid carers; pregnant women (including those with at risk conditions); children aged 2-11 years old (2-5 year olds and not yet in school will be vaccinated at their GP practice, 5-11 year olds will be vaccinated at school during the autumn term).

Dr Elvira Garcia, consultant in public health medicine and immunisation coordinator at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said: “All those eligible for flu vaccination should take up the offer of the free flu vaccine as early as possible this season.”

“Everyone aged over 65, those with a long-term or chronic medical condition, young and unpaid carers as well as those who are very overweight can get their flu vaccine by contacting their GP Practice.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This year we want to ensure as many people as possible are protected from flu ahead of winter hitting.

“The vaccine is safe, effective, and remains the best protection against the flu virus. It is important to stress that the flu vaccine offered to those aged 65-74 this winter still provides protection.

“Last winter was a particularly bad year for flu, with a rise in the number of cases and hospitalisations.

“Flu can be extremely serious for those who are vulnerable, and is very infectious. We can best protect the people of Scotland by encouraging everyone eligible to get vaccinated early. Not only will you protect yourself, but you’ll also be playing a part in helping stop the spread of the virus this winter.”

For further information visit readyforflu.scot or phone NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.