Those at risk urged to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible

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PEOPLE in the Forfar and Kirriemuir areas who are eligible for the flu vaccine are being urged to come forward for the jab.

Figures reveal over 34 per cent of people aged under 65 in Tayside who are entitled to get the flu jab didn’t take up the offer last year.

Health professionals across the country are calling for people who are ‘at risk’ to get their annual flu jab as soon as possible to beat the flu virus this winter.

The Scottish Government’s flu campaign aims to raise awareness of the benefits of the flu jab. The campaign is calling for the estimated 15,392 people in the under 65 ‘at risk’ group living in the NHS Tayside area who didn’t get the vaccination last year, to get the jab as soon as possible this year. These figures don’t include people over 65 who are also eligible for the free flu jab.

People that are eligible for the free flu jab 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.

NHS Tayside Director of Public Health Dr Drew Walker, said: “Flu should be taken seriously – it’s not the same as the common cold and the virus can have an immediate and severe effect.

“If you are in one of the at-risk groups, then it’s important to protect yourself from flu as it could hit you harder and last much longer. In severe cases you could even end up in hospital.

“If you’re in one of the at-risk groups and haven’t been contacted yet then you should make an appointment with your GP to get the free vaccination as soon as you can. It only takes a few minutes to be vaccinated but it will give you protection against flu for around a year. The jab is quick, easy and safe so don’t take the chance of getting ill this winter.”

Last year’s vaccine may not protect against this year’s viruses so annual re-vaccination is advised to guard against any risk of reduced immunity. It takes about 10 days for you to be protected against the flu after having the jab so it’s best to get it as early as possible in flu season (from October onwards).