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Arran Medical Group are ready for the start of the seasonal flu vaccination programme with clinics in place and a good supply of flu vaccinations already delivered to the practice.
And this year, for the first time, a Saturday morning clinic will be held next month solely to administer flu jags to assist those who work during the week.
Every year, flu kills thousands of people. The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against this infection which is why it is offered to those most at risk from the effects of flu and to children to reduce the transmission of the virus. The flu vaccination must be administered every year, as every new strain of the virus means an updated vaccination.
All over 65 year olds are eligible for a flu vaccination. People with a condition such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and respiratory problems are also eligible. All unpaid carers will also be offered a free flu vaccination.
Fiona Robson, practice manager at Arran Medical Group said: ‘Of the 2,056 people on Arran who were eligible for a flu vaccination last year, only 1,559 people took up the offer. The practice would like to improve the uptake this year.’
Health Protection Scotland state that it is in everyone’s interest for those eligible to get vaccinated against influenza and people should remember that’s it’s not just about their own health. If they go out to work, college or school they have a responsibility to the public to protect those around them from the influenza virus. Anyone can catch a flu virus without realising it. It’s possible to have the virus for up to four days before the symptoms appear. They add that the annual flu vaccination programme saves thousands of lives in Scotland every year, and reduces GP time, hospital admissions and pressure on A+E departments.
The flu vaccination is free to all those who are eligible. Flu clinics are starting in October and patients are urged to get in touch with the practice to make an appointment as soon as possible. This year patients will also be able to make an appointment for a flu vaccination online if they are registered with Patient Access. They can ask for a registration form at any of the main surgeries on Arran.
The Saturday morning clinic will be held on November 2 at Brodick Health Centre, with appointments are available from 9.15am. Arran Medical Group said that this clinic is for everyone over 18, but they will particularly welcome all those in the 18-64 year old age group who are in the at risk groups. Many of these people still work and this is a great opportunity for them to get vaccinated against the flu virus.
Children in P1-P7 will be vaccinated in school. Children are super-spreaders of the flu virus. They can pass it onto households easily. Arran Medical Group said they would also be getting in touch with parents and guardians of children aged 2 to 4 years and offer them appointments in a clinic in one of the surgeries.
Many mainland high street pharmacies also provide flu vaccinations for a small charge. If patients are not eligible to receive a free one from their GP, they can go online to check where they could get a vaccination.
The Banner asked what people should do if they suspect they have flu. Anyone suffering from severe symptoms should call their GP during surgery hours and ask for advice.
Outwith surgery hours patients are advised to dial 111 (NHS24). They will be given advice on managing symptoms and trained NHS 24 staff will be able to decide if patients need to be seen by an on call GP.
Arran Medical Group advised there is also some excellent advice online at https://www.nhsinform.scot , search for ‘flu’.
The Banner was told it takes two weeks for the flu vaccination to have an effect, so the message is clear, get vaccinated as soon as possible to do your part in preventing a flu outbreak on Arran.
Flu vaccination programme gets underway on Arran. 50_c48flu01 (in library)