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Health / Flu vaccine reminder as virus spreads

NOW is a good time to get the flu vaccine if you are eligible, according to the chief executive of NHS Shetland as the viral illness spreads in the community.

Michael Dickson said Public Health Scotland has now put the Shetland on the “highest alert” when it comes to people reporting flu-like symptoms to NHS24 or NHS Inform.

Nationally Scotland is said to be experiencing its highest rates of flu since 2017.

“Flu is absolutely out there and people are feeling symptomatic,” Dickson said.

“We’re not seeing that transition into hospital admissions but we are seeing people go off sick with flu-like symptoms.”

Dickson said in a Facebook livestream that anyone wanting a flu jab should contact NHS Shetland.

People who are offered the flu vaccine include those aged over 50, a health or social care worker, children between the ages of two and five and pregnant women.

The vaccine is offered every year by the NHS.

Meanwhile Dickson also spoke about possible nursing strikes in Scotland.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland announced this week that its members have rejected the latest pay offer – an average increase of 7.5 per cent. Midwives have also turned down a deal.

This means members are set to go on strike next year.

A spokesperson for NHS Shetland said the health board is still working out the details.

But Dickson said any staff member who needs financial help right now should not feel ashamed or hesitant to ask for support.

He said the board is “acutely aware” there are people struggling who are dependent on a pay uplift.

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