A major push is now underway for every eligible person in Dumfries and Galloway to protect themselves and their communities against flu this winter.
With COVID-19 around, this year’s immunisation programme is more important than ever.
Plans are well advanced to deliver the immunisation campaign which runs from September 28 to December 31 2020.
Everyone eligible to receive a free flu vaccination will receive an invitation through the post, with letters starting to arrive this week.
These set out specific dates, times and places to attend for a flu vaccination, employing locations which will help accommodate what may be the biggest vaccination campaign to date within the region.
This year the programme has been extended to include 55-64 year olds, and will specifically target vulnerable groups including over 65s, pregnant women, school children, pre-school children, NHS Staff, paid carers, care home staff and social work staff.
Dr Nigel Calvert, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, said: “Flu can be serious and can result in even otherwise healthy people being hospitalised.
“The vaccine remains the best and safest way to protect against flu and its complications, and also helps protect those around them who may be more vulnerable to flu.
“The more people get vaccinated against flu, the more it will protect the population, and help our NHS avoid the pressure that a spike in seasonal flu would put on top of COVID-19.
“We have teams in place, ready to respond to this immunisation uptake. We will be using town halls, community hospitals and health board facilities across the region to deliver 5 minute appointments with emphasis on physical distancing, hand hygiene and cleaning.”
Dr Calvert added: “By everyone playing their part, we can help stop the spread of the flu virus this winter and continue to protect our NHS.”
A campaign of flu vaccination will also be taking place for those working within health and social care in the region.
As well as offering flu vaccinations to all NHS employees, including GP, dentist, optometrist community pharmacy staff, vaccinations will also be provided to social workers who provide direct personal care.
Other recipients include those employed by statutory services (STARS, CASS) and those staff employed by the Third Sector such as nursing and care home staff and care agency staff throughout the region.
Anyone who does not qualify for a free flu vaccination can still acquire a vaccination through a service provided by some high street chemists.
A campaign promoting the update of flu vaccinations this winter is being launched nationally.
For more information about this year’s flu vaccination campaign, please visit the website www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/immunisation/vaccines/flu-vaccine