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Flu jabs behind schedule despite winter onset

Uptake of flu vaccines across Scotland is far lower than it was at the same point last year, amid reports of shortages of the jabs.

Latest figures have revealed that 39 per cent of over 65s – the most at-risk group – have been immunised, compared to 45 per cent at this point in 2017.

In England, that figure is 51.7 per cent.

At First Minister’s Questions today, Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw said all MSPs will have received reports from constituents about problems accessing the jab.

He cited the example of an 85-year-old woman who still had not received their vaccination, and indeed didn’t even have a date for getting it.

Despite this, Nicola Sturgeon stated: “This programme is going well,” going on to add that the raising of this vital issue was an attempt to “undermine public confidence”.

Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw said:

 

“The figures are clear that far fewer people in the at-risk groups are getting their flu jab than last year.

“We know anecdotally from all across Scotland that there have been supply issues, and clearly more needs to be done to ensure everyone who needs a vaccination gets one.

“We’re now entering the closing phase of November, and people really need to get this before it’s too late.

“The SNP government has had all year to get ready for this, and still we’re having to raise very serious concerns.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to give an assurance to at-risk groups, especially those over 75, that they can access the optimum flu jab before winter really begins to bite.”

Ends

 

Notes to editors:

 

Statistics on flu jab uptake are published regularly by Health Protection Scotland. The latest figures reveal uptake for week 43 in Scotland was 39 per cent, compared to 45 per cent at the same point last year:

https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/resourcedocument.aspx?id=6987

 

In England, that figure was 51.7 per cent:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/756458/Weekly_national_influenza_report_week_46_2018.pdf

 

Official recommendations from the Scottish Government state people should receive vaccines in November to be immunised in time for December:

https://www.nes.scot.nhs.uk/media/4193775/phe_flu-programme-delivery-guidance-1819_final_200918.pdf

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