More people than ever in Scotland will be offered the free flu vaccine between September and March, to help protect as many lives as possible this winter.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, there were lower levels of the flu circulating last year and as such, flu immunity may be even lower than usual this winter. It is therefore important to get the flu vaccine and ensure everyone is protected. This year, the following groups are eligible:
all those aged 50 years of age and over
those over 6 months of age with a medical condition which puts them in an 'at risk' group such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, heart and lung diseases, or autoimmune disorders.
social care workers who deliver direct personal care
unpaid and young carers
pregnant women (including those with at risk conditions)
children aged 2-5 years old (not yet at school)
primary school children
secondary school pupils
NHS independent contractors including GP, dental and optometry practices, community pharmacists and laboratory staff working on COVID-19 testing
teachers, nursery teachers and support staff in close contact with pupils (in both a local authority and independent setting)
prison staff and support staff in close contact with the prison population (delivering direct detention services)
those in the prison population
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nicola Steedman said:
“As restrictions continue to lift and we get back to living our lives more normally it is important this year, more than ever, that you receive your flu vaccine if you are eligible, and before flu starts to spread widely. It only takes a few minutes to be vaccinated, and it helps to provide protection from flu for the period of time that flu is likely to be circulating in Scotland.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it easy to forget that each year, thousands of people end up in intensive care because of the flu virus, and around 5-6% of those hospitalised will die.
“I therefore urge everyone who is eligible in North Ayrshire and beyond, to take up the offer as soon as possible when invited. It will protect you, whilst helping the NHS and social care services avoid additional pressure over the winter period.