BORDERERS are being urged to get set for winter and check if they are eligible for a free flu vaccination.

With the number of reported cases of flu more than doubling last winter, those who are eligible are being urged by the NHS to act early and get protected.

NHS advice is to make the vaccination a priority as flu can be serious for those at risk and result in complications that can lead to hospitalisation.

The flu vaccine remains the best defence against flu and will be offered to around 2.5 million people this year, including those with health conditions, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and children aged two-11.

NHS Scotland workers and carers are also offered the vaccine to help stop the spread of the virus to the vulnerable.

With the flu vaccine now available from GP practices, those eligible are advised to prioritise making an appointment to get vaccinated.

Chris Faldon, nurse consultant at NHS Borders, said: “Flu is a serious illness which can be life threatening and kills more people in this country than any other vaccine-preventable disease.

“The flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to keep you and your family protected from flu this winter. I would urge anyone who is eligible for the vaccine to get it.”

Figures show that on average, 1,918 people have been hospitalised with flu or its complications each year in Scotland.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "This year we want to ensure as many people as possible are protected from flu ahead of winter hitting.

"The vaccine is safe, effective, and remains the best protection against the flu virus. It is important to stress that the flu vaccine offered to those aged 65-74 this winter still provides protection.

"Last winter was a particularly bad year for flu, with a rise in the number of cases and hospitalisations.

"Flu can be extremely serious for those who are vulnerable, and is very infectious. We can best protect the people of Scotland by encouraging everyone eligible to get vaccinated early.

“Not only will you protect yourself, but you'll also be playing a part in helping stop the spread of the virus this winter."

Chris adds: “If you are 16 years old or over and not in one of the eligible groups for the free flu immunisation, you can still get the vaccine in many high street pharmacies for a small fee.

“It only takes a few minutes to get immunised and it’ll help to keep you well over the winter.”

For further information visit or phone NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.