Scotland

Vaccination plea as serious Scots flu cases increase

A flu jab Image copyright SPL
Image caption Almost half of people eligible for a free flu jab have not received one

Scots have been urged to get vaccinated after a rise in the number of flu patients taken seriously ill.

Over the past four weeks, 26 people have been admitted to intensive care as a result of the flu, compared to five people over the same period last year.

Most of the patients have underlying health conditions.

The Scottish government said almost half of those eligible for vaccinations due to such conditions are yet to receive them.

People who suffer from chronic conditions such as asthma, heart problems, diabetes, kidney or liver disease are at risk of serious complications from flu, and are offered the vaccination by the NHS.

However, 48% of those with pre-existing health conditions eligible for the jab have not received it.

Meanwhile 54% of pregnant mothers have not had the free vaccine.

'Serious illness'

Public health minister Maureen Watt said: "It is important that those who are eligible for the flu vaccination make an appointment as soon as possible to protect their health.

"Flu is a serious illness and each year the winter months present an increase in the number of cases requiring hospital treatment.

"Flu can cause severe health complications, and the best way to protect yourself and help prevent spread of the virus is to get vaccinated."

Appealing to those who have not yet had the jab, she added: "It only takes a few minutes, and even if you were immunised against flu last winter it is important to receive the vaccine again, as the viruses change each season."

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