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Dr Tim Allison: Less immunity means flu could be particularly severe

By Dr Tim Allison

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People queuing for vaccinations 12 months ago.
People queuing for vaccinations 12 months ago.

The winter vaccination campaign is now well under way and many of you will have received an invitation for flu and Covid vaccinations.

I had my invitation recently. It was odd to get a letter to me from me, but I have followed my own advice and booked an appointment!

Vaccination remains an important way to protect ourselves and others against Covid and flu. Flu could be particularly severe this year, after low levels of infections for a few winters which means we haven’t had as much chance as a population to build up immunity.

People over 50, as well as some vulnerable groups, will be eligible for another Covid vaccination. This will boost our immunity at a time of year when we are more likely to be indoors and in close contact with others.

We also encourage people who have not yet had vaccinations or not had the full course to come for vaccination. It is not too late to get protected.

Many of these important vaccinations will be booked through the national booking portal. This system arranges bookings in advance so you may need to look several weeks ahead to find a suitable slot, just as I did when I booked.

We are adding more clinics regularly, so it’s worth checking back if you can’t find an appointment straight away. Clinics are also all listed on the new format NHS Highland website.

We’ve made some changes to make it easier to see clinic availability. We’ll now update availability on our website weekly. We are also putting information on fully booked clinics on the portal to indicate the next available clinic in that area.

In common with other areas, we do get some people who book an appointment and then don’t attend. It’s really important that you cancel your appointment on the portal if you can’t make it, so that we can offer that slot to someone else.

It’s understandable that plans change, and your change of plan could be someone else’s opportunity to get vaccinated earlier. Cancelling only takes a moment and you can always rebook a more suitable slot while you are there.

If you have questions about clinics, have been asked to book an appointment or require alternative appointment arrangements, please contact our local Service Delivery Centre helpline by calling 08000 320 339, Monday to Friday, 9.30am-5pm.

You can leave a voicemail outside these hours. Alternatively, you can contact the Vaccination Enquiry Hub by email nhsh.covidvaccine@nhs.scot

Please be polite to our helpline staff so that they can do their best to help you find an appointment.

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