NHS confirms Covid is circulating with cases expected to increase

Public health leaders have urged people to take up vaccine invitations after it emerged Covid was back again. 

The health board has confirmed that respiratory infections, including Covid, were circulating in Shetland – and are expected to increase through autumn and winter.

It follows national reports of a new variant with a “high number of mutations” detected in the UK – with experts keeping a close eye on its spread.

Public health director Susan Laidlaw said levels of infection were being monitored in Shetland, with PCR tests sent to national laboratories to identify specific variants.

Dr Laidlaw has advised the community to keep following the same guidance as before – practise good hand and respiratory hygiene and avoid people if unwell, especially those who are vulnerable.

“If you are offered flu or Covid vaccines, please do take up that offer as that is the best way of preventing serious illness, and also helps with reducing spread in the community,” she added.

The autumn/winter flu and Covid vaccination programme starts in September and runs until December, although vaccines can be given through to March.

Flu vaccines will be be offered to the same groups as before, including children, people aged 50 and over, those in clinical risk groups, health and care workers and school staff.

Covid boosters will be offered to all people aged 65 and over, those in care homes and clinical risk groups, unpaid carers and frontline health and social care workers.

Dr Laidlaw said the timing of Covid vaccinations were likely to be different to previous years in order to provide as much protection as possible during the times when Covid and flu are likely to be circulating the most.

People will be invited to an appointment, or to make an appointment, through a letter, phone call, email or potentially text for those who have signed up to text messages.

Vaccination clinics will be held in a variety of locations across Shetland.


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