There’s still time for “at risk” Falkirk residents to dodge a hideous illness which could do more than just wreck the festive season.
The number of reported cases of flu more than doubled last winter, with flu-like illness at the highest rate for seven years.
NHS Forth Valley Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Dr Henry Prempeh, said: “Flu isn’t circulating widely in Scotland yet so there’s still time to get the vaccine and ensure you’re protected ahead of winter.
“Vaccination provides the best defence against flu and getting it early is vital.
“Last winter was a particularly bad year for flu and we cannot predict how severe this flu season will be, which is why it is so important for those who are at risk to get vaccinated, even if they feel fit and healthy.
“It only takes a few minutes and will protect you for around a year.
“I’d encourage everyone eligible to make their flu vaccine a priority.”
This winter the Scottish Government has bought more vaccine than last year in response to higher demand.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Gregor Smith said: “As we approach Christmas, it’s vital that people are aware of the steps they can take to protect themselves against flu.
“With temperatures dropping and winter setting in, I’d encourage those who are eligible to prioritise getting the vaccine – you can still make an appointment at your GP surgery even if they are no longer running dedicated clinics.
“It’s always worth getting vaccinated, as it’s the best defence against a virus which can be unpredictable and serious.
“Not only will you protect yourself, but you’ll also be playing a part in helping stop the spread of the virus this winter.”
The following groups are eligible for the free flu vaccine -
Those aged 65 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.
*NHS Scotland workers
*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.