The NHS has warned that respiratory illnesses like the flu could claim 60,000 lives this winter.
As a result, a large-scale flu jab programme is being launched, encouraging more people than ever to get the vaccine if they are eligible.
The aim is to vaccinate 35 million people against the flu this year, more than double the 14 million people were vaccinated in 2019-2020.
Here’s all you need to know about whether you’re eligible this year and where you can book the flu jab in Edinburgh.
Am I eligible for the flu jab?
Specific groups who are particularly vulnerable to getting seriously ill with the flu will be offered the flu jab in Scotland.
This includes those aged over 50, those with a health condition and a carer, pregnant people, healthcare workers and NHS contractors, and social care workers.
There is also a child flu vaccine that will be offered to children aged between two and five, as well as primary and secondary children.
Those over 70 will be contacted by their local NHS health board with details about their appointment.
When can I get my flu jab?
The 2021 flu jab vaccination programme began in September, with the first prioritisation given to those most at risk from the illness.
Those who are eligible can get the flu jab for free during this time.
NHS Scotland recommends getting the vaccine as soon as it is offered to you.
Are there side effects to the flu jab?
The flu can be dangerous and life-threatening, helping to prevent you from getting sick at all or reducing the symptoms and making sure the illness doesn’t last as long if you do get it.
As with any vaccine, there is the possibility of side effects but they tend to be mild.
Some common side effects can include tenderness or swelling at the injection site, headaches, muscle aches, a fever, and generally feeling unwell.
Side effects should fade within 48 hours. If you are concerned about any lingering side effects, call NHS24 on 111 for advice.
This year, our immunity is expected to be a lot worse, after spending so much time away from each other during lockdown.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to take the flu jab if offered it.
Where can I get my flu jab in Edinburgh?
You will be contacted with details of when and where to go by NHS Scotland if you are eligible for the flu jab.
They may also ask you to book in an appointment for yourself, usually by calling your GP.
Your appointment will likely take place either at your GP or at another clinic in the city. This will be decided on the phone with your GP, unless previously stated in your letter from NHS Scotland.
You should bring your eligibility letter with you to your appointment.
You can also book a private vaccination with any participating private clinic.
If you think you are eligible but haven’t got your letter yet, then don’t worry. Everyone who is eligible will be offered the vaccine before the end of the year.
NHS Scotland will prioritise those most at risk first, so your letter may still be on its way.