Flu (influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. It spreads rapidly through small droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.
Flu jabs help protect people against flu. However, the virus changes and protection tends to wear off. That’s why we need to give you a slightly different vaccination each year. The vaccination is most effective when given early in the season, before the virus takes hold in the community.
Flu vaccination is offered to people at high risk of developing serious complications if they catch flu. Most are listed below. Doctors can offer flu jabs to anyone if they feel a sound case can be made. If you are not sure if you need one, ask.
Who is ‘at risk’?
Over 65 years, preschool children aged 2-5 years, or 6 months and older with:
- asthma (requiring regular inhaled steroid therapy)
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis
- lung fibrosis and scarring conditions
- children who have been admitted to hospital with a chest infection before
- heart disease
- stroke and transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs or ‘mini-strokes’)
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease
- patients with low immunity – including those on immunosuppressant drugs eg for rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease, or cancer chemotherapy, absent spleen, HIV infection
- pregnant women
- those in long term residential care
- unpaid carers
Adults and the flu jab:
Injection – does not contain live virus, cannot cause flu, may give some mild flu-like effects in the first 48 hours afer immunisation, given into the upper arm.
‘Regular’ adult patients are contacted by our practice in October and booked into a fast-track clinic.
Letters are sent to all other eligible adults, inviting them to attend one of several dedicated flu surgeries in 15 minute blocks. Please try and stick to your allocated block of time.
Please don’t book an appointment with the GP just for your flu jab …. but if you need to see the doctor or nurse for another reason, we are happy to give you your vaccination at the same time – just ask.
If you are not in a high risk group, but would like a flu jab, thinks about buying one from one of the many supermarkets who now offer them for less than £10.
Children and the flu vaccination:
Usually given as nasal spray by the practice nurse, contains live flu virus that has been weakened so that it can generate immunity without causing illness.
Please do not book appointments with the doctor for children requiring the nasal spray vaccine – please ring 0141 531 6490 and ask for an appointment with the practice nurse.
We offer vaccination to:
- children aged 2-5 years who have received a letter from the health board (nasal spray)
- children of primary school age who cannot have the live nasal vaccination (injection)
- children of secondary school age who fall into the ‘at risk’ category (nasal spray)
- children who have missed their vaccination at school NB this will not be given in advance of the school programme or in preference to it (nasal spray)
Unfortunately, there is no suitable vaccine for children with severe egg allergy.
Click here for more information about Fluenza nasal spray vaccination.
Protects against serious infections caused by a pneumococcus bacterium.
- children under 2
- adults over 65
- children and adults with certain chronic (long-term) health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney disease
Types of pneumococcal vaccine:
There are two different types of pneumococcal jab:
- PCV – this is given to all children under 2 as part of the routine childhood vaccination programme
- PPV – this is given to adults over 65 or at high risk (one-off ‘pneumo’ injection)
How do I get my pneumo vaccination at the Yellow Wing?
Lots of the same people who need a flu jab also need a pneumococcal jab. However, you generally only need the pneumococcal jab once. If you have an absent or non-functioning spleen, you need a booster every 10 years. Your practice nurse or doctor will usually check whether you have received the jab when you attend for flu vaccination and will ask you if you wish to have it at the same time.
Click here for more information on pneumococcal vaccination.
Whooping cough (pertussis) jab
Whooping cough is a serious disease, caused by a germ called Bordetella pertussis, that can lead to chest infection, brain damage and even death. Young babies are particularly at risk because they aren’t immunised until they are 2 months old. So we try and get pregnant mums to have a jab and pass their immunity onto their unborn baby through the bloodstream.
At risk group:
- young babies and children
- pregnant mothers – most effective between 28 and 32 weeks’ gestation
Types of pertussis vaccine:
There are three different types of whooping cough vaccine:
- baby vaccine “5-in-1 vaccine” (DTap/IPV/Hib), protecting against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib and polio: this is given to babies aged 2, 3 and 4 months as part of the childhood vaccination programme
- pre-school booster (DTap/IPV), protecting against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio: this is given before children start school at 3-5 years of age
- adult vaccination (DTap/IPV), as above; the vaccine is not live
Click here for more information on whooping cough immunisation
Shingles (Varicella zoster) jab
Shingles is caused by the chickenpox virus. After the illness has gone, the virus remains dormant (inactive) in the nerves and can sometimes reactivate causing shingles. The rash looks like chickenpox but is limited to a small area. Attacks often occur at times of stress or illness. You can’t catch shingles from anyone else, it is a reactivation of your own past infection. However, if you have shingles blisters, the virus in the fluid can infect someone who has not had chickenpox (usually a child) and they may develop chickenpox instead.
A one-off vaccine is now offered to certain people aged between 70 and 79 – check your eligibility with this tool from Immunisation Scotland
The vaccine isn’t offered to those over 80 years of age, since it is less effective as people get older.
Please note that you are encouraged to attend for vaccination, even if you have had shingles before.
The shingles vaccination can be given at the same time as a flu jab.
Hepatitis B Vaccination
Patients should seek advice from their employer. Students requesting Hepatitis B immunisation are advised to contact the occupational Health Department at their University for their jab.
A vaccination to protect against tetanus is given as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.
The full course of the tetanus vaccination consists of five doses. The first three doses are given during early childhood. This is followed by two booster doses. The first booster dose is given at around four years of age. The second one is given 10 years later. After the full course, you should have lifelong immunity against tetanus. However, if you or your child has a deep wound it is best to get medical advice.
If you are not sure whether you have had the full course, for example because you were born in another country, contact your GP for advice.
Meningitis C Vaccination
Most students have already been immunised. If not, you can be immunised against meningococcal infection, which can cause meningitis (brain injection) and septicaemia (blood poisoning).
A new ‘catch up’ programme for the immunisation of first-time university entrants under the age of 25 who have not had a meningitis C vaccination since the age of 10 is being introduced from 1st August 2014. The aim to is get this particular group vaccinated before starting university. Students are considered a high risk population.
International students may not have been immunised and we can provide this service. If you require immunisation please call the practice appointment line on 0141 531 6490 and ask for a routine appointment with our practice nurse.
Is being offered to 16-18 year olds.
If you are at school, this vaccine will be given to you at school.
If you have left school, this vaccine can be administered in the practice.
It s also available at the practice for anyone under 25 years who is starting 1st year of university (but not for those attending college).
Certain other medical groups may also be eligible, for example those with an absent or non-functioning spleen.
For further advice please call the National Meningitis Trust on 0845 6000 800, or Freephone the Meningitis Research Foundation on 080 8800 3344.
The HPV Vaccine for girls aged 12 &13
The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine is designed to protect against the two types of HPV that can cause 70% of the cases of cervical cancer. It does not protect you against all other types, so you will still need to start going for regular cervical screening when you are 20 years of age.
It is important that you get this protection early enough for it to be effective and the best time for that is in your early teenage years. The vaccine won’t protect you against other sexually transmitted infections. You will need three injections over a period of six months to get the best protection. You will be informed when your immunisation is due. The nurse will give you the injection in your upper arm.
Call the free NHS helpline on 0800 22 44 88 (Textphone 18001 22 44 88).
Information concerning your vaccination history can only be issued by the practice nurse or doctor. Reception staff are not qualified to release this information to you. As your vaccination status/history is very important, your records need to be checked by a nurse or doctor. To obtain your vaccination history, please submit this request in writing to the practice nurse.
Please allow at least seven working days for your reply.