Advice for anyone having difficulty booking their vaccines in Badenoch and Strathspey
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Those eligible for the flu and Covid-19 vaccines this winter are urged to come forward for vaccination.
With more than one million Covid-19 vaccines administered so far this winter, Public Health Scotland is encouraging eligible people to take up the offer of their vaccines as soon as possible.
Locally, a spokesperson for NHS Highland told the Strathy today: "A number of clinics have already taken place in the Badenoch and Strathspey area and there are a few more scheduled up to the end of the year.
"These are proving to be very popular and are filling up quickly.
"We have two clinics in Aviemore in November. 21 November is fully booked and our clinic on the 28 November has a small number of appointments left.
"If anyone is having difficulty in booking their appointment we would ask them to contact our local Service Delivery Centre on 08000 320 339 and they will be able to assist.
"For those who are housebound and unable to attend a clinic location you can contact the national helpline on 0800 030 8013 or the local Service Delivery Centre and ask for a home visit."
Public Health Scotland is spreading the word nationally: "During the colder winter months when people stay indoors for longer, and in larger groups, there is an increase in the number of people experiencing coughs, colds and flu-like illnesses.
"Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself against flu and Covid-19 and we strongly encourage eligible people to take up the vaccination offer now, to help avoid missing out on socialising with friends and family over the peak winter season.
"This year’s winter vaccination programme is focused on protecting those most vulnerable.
"In particular, people with underlying health conditions, such as heart conditions or liver disease, that put them at greater risk of severe illness. Pregnant women are strongly recommended to take up the vaccines, as these give them and their babies the best possible protection against serious illness from the viruses."
All health and social care workers are eligible for the free flu vaccine, with frontline workers also eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, which offers protection against the most likely circulating strains.
Professor Sir Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said: “Flu and Covid-19 can still be serious, and can result in hospitalisation. The vaccines are the best protection we have against the viruses, and it’s important that all those who are eligible get vaccinated as soon as possible. This is especially true for pregnant women and people with underlying conditions, who are at increased risk from the viruses.
“Anyone who is eligible and who hasn’t yet been contacted about their vaccines can book an appointment using the online booking portal or by calling the vaccination helpline. If you are unsure about your eligibility, or that of your child, you can use the self-help guide on NHS inform. If you’ve been given an appointment for a time, date or location that doesn’t suit, you can also use the online portal to book a more suitable appointment.
“The flu virus changes every year and protection from the Covid-19 vaccine fades over time, so it’s important you get the winter vaccines when offered. I’d like to thank everyone who has already come forward for vaccination and would urge all those who are eligible and have still to be vaccinated to ensure they are protected ahead of winter.”
Justine Craig, Chief Midwifery Officer for Scotland, said: “If you’re pregnant, you’re eligible for both the flu and Covid-19 vaccines this winter. The flu and Covid-19 vaccines are recommended in pregnancy by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the Royal College of Midwives.
“The vaccines are the best way to help protect pregnant women and their babies against the known risks of flu and Covid-19 in pregnancy. They can be given at any stage during pregnancy and are safe if you’re planning on breastfeeding.
“If you need information about the winter vaccines, you can speak to your midwife, who will also be able to advise you on how to get vaccinated.”