Locals are being urged to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible as NHS Ayrshire & Arran advise there is still time before the virus hits.

People at risk of developing complications have been told its not too late to protect themselves from the flu this year.

The number of reported cases of flu more than doubled last winter, with flu-like illness at the highest rate for seven years.

Dr Elvira Garcia, Immunisation Co-ordinator for NHS Ayrshire & Arran, said: “Flu isn’t circulating widely in Scotland as yet, so there’s still time to get the flu vaccine and ensure you’re properly prepared ahead of winter.

“Last winter was a particularly bad year for flu, which is why it’s so important those who are at-risk get the vaccine, even if they feel fit and healthy. It only takes a few minutes and will provide you with the best protection this winter.”

This year’s flu vaccination programme is already underway, offering free flu vaccination to over two million people across Scotland. This winter, the Scottish Government has bought more vaccine than last year in response to higher demand.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Gregor Smith echoed the benefits of those eligible getting the vaccine. He said: “As we approach Christmas, it’s vital that people are aware of the steps they can take to protect themselves against flu.

“With temperatures dropping and winter setting in, I’d encourage those who are eligible to prioritise getting the vaccine – you can still make an appointment at your GP surgery even if they are no longer running dedicated clinics.

“It’s always worth getting vaccinated, as it’s the best defence against a virus which can be unpredictable and serious. Not only will you protect yourself, but you'll also be playing a part in helping stop the spread of the virus this winter."