The development of effective vaccines has led to a huge decrease in childhood deaths, and immunisation is a way of protecting against serious diseases. Once we have been immunised, our bodies are better able to fight these diseases if we come into contact with them. Click here for more information about vaccinations on the Immunisation Scotland website.
Anyone who suffers from a chronic health condition listed below, who is pregnant, who is over 65, or those who work in healthcare should get the flu vaccine. If you have a health condition, flu can hit you hardest. The annual vaccine is the safest and most effective way of protecting yourself. If you fall into the following categories, you should make an appointment for the annual flu vaccine as catching flu can be much more dangerous:
- bronchitis / emphysema / COPD
- cystic fibrosis
- chronic heart disease
- chronic kidney failure
- HIV infection
- immunocompromise (undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
- liver problems (such as cirrhosis/hepatitis)
- multiple sclerosis
- unpaid carers
Those aged 16 or over, who are not eligible for free immunisation, can get the vaccine in many high street pharmacies for a small fee.
The pneumococcal vaccine provides some protection against one of the most causes of meningitis and other conditions such as severe ear infections and pneumonia.
Unlike the flu vaccine which is given every year, the pneumococcal vaccine is only usually given once. The Scottish Government provides pneumococcal immunisation for all people aged 65 years and over. For those aged under 65, GPs may at their own discretion provide immunisation for people with the following serious medical conditions:
- Problems with the spleen either because the spleen has been removed or does not work properly, e.g. sickle cell disorder and coeliac disease.
- Chronic lung disease including chronic bronchitis or emphysema.
- Serious heart conditions.
- Severe kidney disease.
- Long-term liver disease.
- Diabetes requiring medication.
- Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment eg HIV, chemotherapy for cancer, or long-term oral steroids for conditions such as asthma.
- Cochlear implants.
- Individuals with cerebrospinal fluid leaks.
- Children under five years of age who have previously had invasive pneumococcal disease such as meningitis or bacteraemia.
Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. It is caused by the same virus as chickenpox and causes painful blisters on the skin. The shingles vaccine can reduce your risk of getting shingles, or, if you do get shingles, can reduce how serious the symptoms will be.
The NHS will be offering the vaccine to those aged over 70 but under 80 in stages over the next few years. People aged 80 and over will not be offered the shingles immunisation because the vaccine is less effective as people get older.
If you have not had the Shingles vaccination, you maybe eligible if you are aged 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 78 or 79 on the 1st September 2016. If you are unsure, please contact Morningside Medical Practice.
Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord which can damage the nerves, the brain, and lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning). The infection can be caused by several groups of meningococcal bacteria – the most common types are A, B, C, W and Y. Young people have the highest risk of getting meningococcal disease, as well as children and babies.
The Scottish Government has announced that all infants in Scotland will be offered a vaccination against Meningitis B (MenB) through the NHS as part of the routine childhood vaccination programme from the 1st September 2015. Eligibility of the vaccine through the NHS is detailed below:
Please make an appointment with our nurse if you are aged 16-25 attending a UCAS-administered institution or college with residential accommodation for the first time and have not received a Meningitis ACWY vaccine.