Date Published: 2 October 2006
Start of Scottish annual flu immunisation campaign
Today marks the start of the Executive's annual flu and pneumococcal immunisation campaign running over the winter months.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Harry Burns is urging at-risk groups, healthcare workers and carers to get their free vaccination and aims to reassure them that there will be no delay in receiving jabs, despite Europe-wide delays in the production of one of the virus strains.
Dr Burns said:
Flu is a highly infectious virus caused by influenza viruses. Flu is most common during the winter months. Pneumoccoccal disease is the term used to describe a range of illnesses such as pneumonia, blood poisoning and meningitis. Both infections can be spread by coughs, sneezes and close contact between people.
The Scottish Executive's annual winter campaign encourages people aged over 65 and those with certain illnesses, who are most at risk of complications from catching flu or pneumococcal infection to get immunised. People with diabetes, asthma and other chronic medical conditions have a high risk of complications from flu, and are the target groups for the immunisation campaign. Since last year, individuals with chronic liver disease and carers are now included in the free immunisation.
Targets are set for the uptake of the flu vaccination and these are achieved with intensive efforts from GP practices, healthcare staff, with the support of a communications campaign. The Executive aims to ensure a 70% uptake amongst people aged 65 or over and a 60% uptake for the 'at risk' clinical group.
Last year there was a 77.8% uptake in flu vaccine among the over 65s. Based on Registrar General population estimates for 2005 there were 833, 094 adults aged over 65 years in Scotland. Therefore at a 77.8% uptake, approximately 648,147 would be immunised.
The Scottish Executive's annual flu and pneumococcal immunisation campaign will include the following activity:
People who want to arrange for a free flu vaccine should contact their GP practice.
Source: Scottish Executive (Scotland).