Covid Scotland: More people eligible for NHS flu vaccine ahead of 'challenging' winter

The NHS flu vaccine programme will again be available to more people than usual this winter, the Scottish Government has said.

Sunday, 8th August 2021, 2:40 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th August 2021, 3:38 pm

The flu vaccine programme will run from September until March 2022, alongside a booster Covid vaccine campaign for the most vulnerable.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf has written to healthcare professionals set to deliver the flu vaccine to ensure they are ready.

The Scottish Government is yet to confirm which services will deliver this programme, and whether it will be the same for booster Covid jags.

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All over 50s will be eligible for a free flu vaccine, along with anyone with underlying health conditions, children, pregnant women and prisoners.

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Health and social care staff, unpaid carers, teachers and prison staff will also be eligible.Mr Yousaf said: “Flu can be extremely serious and is very infectious. With Covid-19 still circulating in the community we can best protect the people of Scotland by encouraging everyone eligible to get vaccinated against flu too.

“That’s why this flu season, we are extending the vaccination programme and offering the flu vaccine to around four million people in Scotland.

"This will help to protect those most at risk as well as ease pressure on our National Health Service and social care services. The vaccines are safe and the best way to help protect you, and others, from flu this winter.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nicola Steedman said: “The public health measures put in place to help fight against Covid-19 meant that the circulation of flu viruses was very low last season.

"As restrictions continue to lift and we get back to living our lives more normally it is important this year, more than ever, that you receive your flu vaccine if you are eligible, and before flu starts to spread widely.

"It only takes a few minutes to be vaccinated, and it helps to provide protection from flu for the period of time that flu is likely to be circulating in Scotland.

“The JCVI has also published interim advice on providing a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to those eligible in the autumn. Any such extension to the vaccine programme would run alongside the vital flu programme, to protect those at risk from flu this winter.”

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