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Highland health experts call for flu jab campaign to prevent NHS being overwhelmed this winter

By Staff Reporter

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There are fears flu cases in combination with Covid-19 could stretch the health service beyond its limits.

In Highland the number of people taking up the flu vaccine has dropped by nearly 15 per cent – at a time when the jabs are going to be crucial to public health in the face of a possible second wave of coronavirus cases hitting at the same time as the regular flu season.

Experts say it is “more important than ever” to receive the vaccination.

Dr Tim Allison, director of public health with NHS Highland, said: “Vaccination against influenza is extremely important and this is particularly true this year when reducing the level of influenza will help to tackle Covid-19.

“Uptake of influenza vaccination in the past in NHS Highland has been lower than we would have hoped and we are keen to increase uptake this year.”

On July 24, the government launched plans for the “most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in UK history” aiming to double the number immunised from 15 million to
30 million.

But leading academics also want a government campaign to address what they say is a national “complacency” towards the flu and dispel many myths and preconceptions around the jab.

The government has decided to expand eligibility for the jab for this year.

Free vaccine is to be available to those shielding and their households as well as school pupils up to year seven; those aged over 65; pregnant women; under-65s with pre-existing conditions; and at-risk under-twos.

The NHS will contact people directly, including information about where to get the vaccine.

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