“Flu and COVID-19 can still be serious, and can result in hospitalisation.” Professor Sir Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland

Public Health Scotland are urging those eligible for the flu and COVID-19 vaccines this winter to come forward for vaccination.

Since 4 September 2023 (the current Winter 2023 vaccination programme) 1,235,699 influenza (Adult 18+), 333,375 influenza (Children 6 months to 17 years) and 1,013,048 COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Scotland. Public Health Scotland (16th November 2023)

This year’s winter vaccination programme is focused on protecting those most vulnerable to flu and COVID-19. In particular, people with underlying health conditions, such as heart conditions or liver disease, that put them at greater risk of severe illness from flu and COVID-19.  Pregnant women are strongly recommended to take up the vaccines, as these give them and their babies the best possible protection against serious illness from the viruses.

All health and social care workers are eligible for the free flu vaccine, with frontline workers also eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine offers protection against the most likely circulating strains.

If you think you may be eligible for either a flu or COVID-19 vaccine this winter (or both) you can check using the PHS self help guide at www.nhsinform.scot/wintervaccines and book an appointment.

The number of acute Covid hospital admissions has gone down slightly to 191 (week ending 12th November ) from 217 the previous week.

Hospital admissions, however have increased to 419 from 397.

 The monitoring for fragments of coronavirus’ ribonucleic acid (RNA) in local waste water systems is one of the very few means of tracking the virus in the community now that so little testing is being done.

The testing of the area covered by Kirkwall’s waste water system continues to show positive levels but the last published data was for 8th of November.

National Records of Scotland published the weekly deaths report (12th November 2023). It shows:

The provisional total number of deaths registered in Scotland in week 45 of 2023 (6th November to 12th November) was 1,235 (30 or 2% higher than the 5-year average). There were 44 deaths mentioning COVID-19.

Those figures in more detail:

Deaths involving Covid:

  • Age 45 – 64: 3 deaths, 2 female, 1 male
  • Age 65 – 74: 8 deaths, 4 female, 4 male
  • Age 75 – 84: 10 deaths, 4 female, 6 male
  • Age 85+ : 232 deaths, 14 female, 9 male

Of the 44 deaths involving Covid, Covid was the main cause in 37 of them

There were 3 deaths in Care Homes; 6 at Home/ Non-Institutional Setting; and 35 in Hospital.

How well are we doing? The figures for this week from 2020 to 2023

Year Deaths involving CovidDeaths where Covid is the Underlying Cause

There were 1,235 deaths due to all causes, an excess of 30 deaths taken over a 5 year average. Other causes accounted for 51 excess deaths.

Professor Sir Gregor Smith, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said:

“Flu and COVID-19 can still be serious, and can result in hospitalisation. The vaccines are the best protection we have against the viruses, and it’s important that all those who are eligible get vaccinated as soon as possible. This is especially true for pregnant women and people with underlying conditions, who are at increased risk from the viruses.

“The flu virus changes every year and protection from the COVID-19 vaccine fades over time, so it’s important you get the winter vaccines when offered. I’d like to thank everyone who has already come forward for vaccination and would urge all those who are eligible and have still to be vaccinated to ensure they are protected ahead of winter.”

Fiona Grahame

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