Home   News   Article

Dr Tim Allison: Get vaccinations to ensure the best Christmas possible

By Contributor

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

Winter is the time when we get more chest infections and more colds.

We spend more time indoors, we have less ventilation and the viruses that cause the infections can spread much more easily.

This happens across the world and during our last summer there was a rise in infections in the Australian winter.

So, at this time of year, we should be particularly conscious to do what we can to reduce the risk of catching or spreading these infections.

Covid remains an unwelcome visitor in our communities.

Despite our strong desire for it to go, it is still here and showing little sign of leaving.

Covid rates in Scotland are going down, but the decrease is very slow and we still find that around one in every 50 people who are tested are positive.

The good news is that the number of people in hospital with Covid has decreased and fewer people are seriously ill with the virus.

We are also not seeing the arrival of new Covid variants.

Much of the good news is down to the rollout of vaccinations.

So far, more than half of those eligible to have an autumn booster vaccination have received one in Highland and coverage is higher among the older, more vulnerable groups of people.

There are thousands of vacant appointments that are still available before Christmas.

Please do take up the offer of vaccination – and it is even more important to get protected if you have yet to have the full course of vaccine.

Influenza, or ‘flu for short, is less good news and we should resist any temptation to regard ‘flu as being something “like a bad cold”. It can keep otherwise healthy people stuck in bed for days and remains a real threat for the more vulnerable.

Rates were high in Australia during their winter and with Covid restrictions relaxed and travel increasing we are more likely to see high levels of ‘flu.

We have recently seen the start of ‘flu spreading in the community throughout Scotland. Again, vaccination is crucial in giving us the best protection from the ‘flu virus.

As Christmas approaches, we are likely to be keen to celebrate more than we did over the last couple of years when we were highly conscious of Covid and when restrictions were in place.

Rising costs will not make this easy but no doubt celebrations will be enthusiastic.

Rules for Covid have gone, but we should still be sensible and act responsibly when it comes to looking after the health of ourselves and our friends and families.

One of the most important messages is to stay at home when we are ill with symptoms that could be Covid or ‘flu and avoid work or any kind of social contact.

We can then get better at home, and we will also protect people more vulnerable than us while we do so. That is the best way to send out the message of goodwill to all at Christmas.

  • Dr Tim Allison is NHS Highland’s director of public health and policy.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More