THE winter vaccination programme got underway in NHS Forth Valley this week, with those deemed high risk offered the flu jab.

Teachers, support staff and those aged 50-64 were offered the flu vaccination already, with invitations sent to those eligible by post, email or text.

NHS Forth Valley warned that cases of the flu were at their highest since 2018/19 last year, with over 14,000 confirmed cases across all year groups.

The expansion of the flu programme to encompass secondary school pupils will continue this winter, with all school age pupils, children aged 2-5 and children aged 6 months to under two years at risk being eiligible.

Fiona Coan, manager of NHS Forth Valley’s immunisation team, said: “Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19 and flu this winter.

“Arrangements are in place to vaccinate everyone who is eligible across Forth Valley over the next few months.

“There are plenty of appointment times available, as well as evening and weekend clinics.

“We strongly encourage you to book or attend your appointment when invited as this will ensure you’re protected and help reduce pressure on local healthcare services over the busy winter period.”

Parents and carers are encouraged to look for an appointment letter by post, or a consent form in their child’s school bag and take up the flu vaccine offer this winter.

The top up Covid-19 vaccine will be offered to people most vulnerable to illness, including care home residents, frontline health and care staff, those aged 65 and over, pregnant women and carers.