Figures reveal low uptake of flu vaccine

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People in Angus who are eligible for the flu vaccine are being urged to get themselves protected before the end of the year.

It follows the release of figures showing that more than 50 per cent of those in ‘at risk’ groups across the NHS Tayside area have yet to be vaccinated.

The call has been issued to ensure those with underlying health conditions and parents of children aged between two and five contact their GP practice to arrange their vaccination to reduce the risk of catching flu.

People with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, those with lowered immunities and women who are pregnant, can be hit harder by flu and suffer more serious complications, even if they are generally fit and healthy.

The figures have highlighted that 65 per cent of people under 65 with underlying health problems, 75 per cent of pregnant women and 76 per cent of two to five-year-olds have yet to receive the vaccine.

This year’s programme has also been extended to include two to 11-year-olds, as they are two to three times more likely to be ill with flu than adults.

Around 550,000 children will be given the nasal flu vaccine this year. Parents of children aged two to five who are not yet in school should contact their GP to arrange their vaccination, while children aged five to 11 are being offered the vaccination in school.

Dr Daniel Chandler, NHS Tayside’s flu immunisation co-ordinator, said: “It’s very important that children aged two to five, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions get vaccinated to reduce the risk of catching flu and suffering serious complications.

“Catching flu can cause unnecessary worry for friends and family as well as posing a risk of spreading the virus to more vulnerable members of society.

“It is much worse than a bad cold and survives better when it is chilly outside. Flu viruses will circulate across Scotland as we move further into winter so make sure you get protected as soon as possible.”

Anyone who would like to find out more information about the flu vaccine and the Scottish Government’s vaccination programme can do so by contacting NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88 or logging on to www.immunisationscotland.org.uk