THE ANNUAL flu immunisation campaign began on 1 October with people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and other young people considered high risk if they catch flu being urged to take up the offer of a free seasonal jab.
Pre-school children aged two to five and all primary school-aged children are also being offered the vaccination. Most will be given a nasal spray – believed to be more effective than the injection in preventing child flu – as well most secondary school-aged children in high-risk groups.
Vaccinations can be given any time between October and March, but most are given in the first two months.
Adults, secondary school pupils and pre-school children will receive their vaccinations from GP practices, while primary school vaccinations have been arranged through school health teams. If parents want their child to have the flu vaccine they must return their consent to the school as soon as possible. If parents and carers have any questions about the school flu vaccination programme they can contact school health on (01595) 743076.
Consultant in public health medicine Dr Susan Laidlaw said: “Each year there are slightly different strains of seasonal (winter) ‘flu circulating in the community, this is why a new vaccine has to be given each year.
“The vaccine helps to protect people who are more vulnerable to ‘flu and the complications of ‘flu, including people over 65, those with certain medical conditions and pregnant women. ‘Flu can also be very serious for children, particularly the youngest ones who have little or no immunity to the infection, which is why we now offer ‘flu immunization to all pre-school and primary school aged children.
“Most children will have the nasal spray vaccine, as this works better in children than the injections. This year the nasal vaccine protects against four strains of ‘flu virus. And the nasal spray has the added benefit of making it as simple as possible for children to get vaccinated and be protected.”
All frontline NHS staff should also have the jab every year. Uptake among NHS Shetland staff increased last year, and more staff are being encouraged to get vaccinated this year to protect both themselves and patients.
Further information on the ‘flu vaccination is available from the Immunisation Scotland website.
FULL LIST OF FLU VACCINATION CLINICS
Lerwick Health Centre patients (held at Clickimin 9.00am – 3.45pm)
For adults aged 18 and over:
- Tuesday 27 October (surnames beginning with A-M)
- Tuesday 3 November (surnames beginning with N-Z)
Brae Health Centre patients (walk in clinics at Brae Public Hall)
- Tuesday 6 October 2pm-4.30pm
- Tuesday 27 October 2.00pm-4.30pm
Scalloway Health Centre patients (walk in clinics at the health centre for all eligible adults):
- Wednesday 7 October 3pm-7pm
- Wednesday 28 October 3pm-7pm
Any patients who cannot attend any of the walk in clinics should make an appointment with the practices nurses. Clinics for eligible children between the ages of 2 and 5 will be arranged at a later date. Look out for local publicity or contact the practice.
Unst Health Centre patients (walk in clinic at Baltasound Hall, no appointment needed)
- Thursday 12 November from 6pm-9pm
- Friday 13 November from 9am-11am
Yell Health Centre patients:
- Mid Yell Public Hall – Wednesday 28 October 2pm-4pm
- Burravoe Public Hall – Thursday 29 October 2pm-4pm
- Cullivoe Public Hall – Thursday 5 November 2pm-4pm
- Mid Yell Public Hall – Thursday 12 November 2pm-4pm
Patients registered with the GP practices in Bixter, Hillswick, Levenwick, Walls and Whalsay should contact their own practice, or look out for local publicity, to find out how to get their flu jab. Some practices will send out appointments to individual patients.
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