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Health / Flu numbers no higher than usual, NHS says

NHS Shetland says the number of people in the isles known to have had the flu recently is no higher than usual.

Anecdotally there have been reports of a high level of people being off work or school due to the flu in recent weeks.

However, NHS Shetland’s public health department confirmed that the “incidents of flu infection this year are not higher than average”.

“Public health consultant Dr Susan Laidlaw said there are lots of bugs around but this is normal for this time of year,” a spokesperson for the health board added in a statement.

NHS Shetland recently reminded local people that there was still time to get this season’s flu vaccination.

The health board particularly encouraged younger adults who are eligible for the vaccine to come forward.

NHS Shetland said in mid-January that provisional figures showed that only around a third of under 65s in eligible groups in Shetland had their flu vaccine.

Uptake for people aged over 65 had been “quite good”, Laidlaw said at the time.

A flu vaccine is available for free at GP practices ​for:

  • Anyone aged 65 and over pregnant women anyone who is very overweight (with a body mass index over 40)
  • Children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or lung disease)
  • Children and adults with weakened immune systems

A child flu vaccine is also available for children in Scotland aged between two and five who is not yet in school.