Rallying call in the fight against flu

It’s coming to that time of year where the days are getting shorter, summer clothes are getting packed away for another year and the flu virus is waiting just around the corner.

However, there is an easy – and quick – way to give you and your family the best chance of avoiding the winter blues over the coming months.

Flu needs to be taken seriously – it’s not the same as the common cold and the virus can have an immediate and severe effect.

Almost 500,000 people across Greater Glasgow and Clyde will be offered the free flu vaccine.

At risk groups

A major push on targeting people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and those older than 65 is underway as flu can lead to serious complications potentially leading to hospitalisation. 

People with chronic disease are extremely vulnerable, for example those with chronic liver disease are 83 times at higher risk of contracting flu compared to a healthy person.

It is also crucial for pregnant women to be vaccinated to protect themselves and their unborn baby.

Flu pregnant woman

Children

This is the fourth year targeting the parents of children aged 2-5 to encourage them to make an appointment with their GP to get their child vaccinated.

It’s important that even if a child was immunised against flu last year they get the vaccine again this year. The virus keeps changing meaning last year’s vaccine may not protect against this year’s strain of the virus.

Annual immunisation

Linda de Caestecker, NHSGGC director of Public Health, said: “The annual national flu immunisation programme has started and I’d encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated as early as they can.

“I’m hoping this year will see us vaccinate more people across Greater Glasgow and Clyde than ever before.

 “The vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which causes severe illness and deaths each year. The most at-risk groups include older people, pregnant women and those with a chronic health condition, even if their condition is well-managed. 

“The vaccine can take up to 14 days to work so it makes sense for everyone in the eligible groups to make an appointment with their GP now. I would encourage people to get vaccinated before December which is usually the beginning of the flu season.”

Further information can be viewed at www.immunisationscotland.org.uk.

The following groups are eligible for the flu vaccine:

  • Those aged 65 years of age and over
  • Those 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.
  • Unpaid carers
  • 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.