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Vaccine roll out to resume

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By Abbey Morton
Front

OLDER and vulnerable people are to be offered a vaccine against pneumococcal infection once again.

In people most at risk, a pneumococcal infection can cause meningitis, pneumonia, or other conditions such as severe ear infections.

Pneumococcal bacteria are passed from person to person by coughing, sneezing or close contact. Pneumococcus can affect people of all ages, but those over 65 are at most risk of serious illness – as are people with serious medical conditions, such as heart, kidney or liver disease, chronic respiratory disease or lowered immunity. Anyone in one of these higher-risk categories is eligible for the vaccine if they have not received it already.

Most people will receive lifelong protection from one dose of the vaccine, though a booster may be needed every five years for some people with serious long-term health conditions.

Pneumococcal vaccinations were paused during the covid pandemic, in order to focus on the rollout of the covid jabs.

But NHS Dumfries and Galloway has now restarted the programme, and letters have gone out inviting people to appointments, and the first dose was delivered on Monday.

Dr Nigel Calvert, consultant in public health medicine and immunisation coordinator at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said: “For many people, a pneumococcal infection will just mean an elevated temperature and a headache.

“But for someone older, or with a serious medical condition, it could be very dangerous.

“It’s important to get the vaccine if you’re eligible. A single dose is enough to protect most people, though some will need a booster every few years, and it will give you really significant protection against some potentially very serious illnesses.”

More information on the pneumococcal vaccine, including the full list of conditions that increase risk of serious illness, is available at www.nhsinform.scot/pneumococcalvaccine.

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