NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Winter flu and COVID vaccinations roll out across the region

A STRATEGY aimed at providing the best targeted protection against COVID-19 this winter involves adopting a responsive approach to vaccination.

Although COVID-19 has been with us now for over three years, it is still a relatively new virus – this means that as we learn more about it we have to adapt our response.

This year, the first to be vaccinated will be those who are most vulnerable: care home residents, those aged 75 and over, and those with weakened immune systems.

Vaccinations will take place at eleven venues across the region this autumn and winter.

Immunisation co-ordinator Dr Andrew Rideout said: “COVID has not disappeared.

“In previous years we addressed a lot of the threat through highly successful vaccination programmes, but the virus is still out there and continues to pose a risk to health, and so we need to continue our efforts to keep protecting those most at risk.

 “Dumfries and Galloway is a large region, and for some people getting to the nearest vaccination site might mean travelling some distance. We recognise this could be difficult, but would urge individuals to take up the protection from vaccination as soon as they are called.”

Some of the first people lined up to receive vaccinations have now started receiving emails, texts, or letters, asking them to book their slot through the national portal.

Both flu and COVID-19 vaccines will be offered to people most vulnerable to illness and, where possible, administered at the same time. Clinical advice and evidence show that administration of both vaccines together is a safe and efficient way to deliver maximum protection.

People should wait for NHS Scotland to contact them with details of their appointment, or a prompt to book. Depending on their selected communication preferences, this will be by email, by text, or by post in a white, NHS Scotland branded envelope, which replaces the blue envelopes used previously.

A graphic has been created which offers people an immediate understanding of the groups which qualify for either flu vaccinations, or both flu or COVID.

Details on the vaccination timelines for all these groups will be announced as the vaccination programme progresses, with the aim that most vaccinations should be carried out by early December.

More information can be found at the website www.nhsinform.scot/wintervaccines and anyone who experiences any problem with this year’s booking system is asked to call the local helpline on 01387 403090 or the national helpline on 0800 030 8013.