Thousands of people could at risk after new figures revealed that less than half of health workers get the flu jab.
Figures obtained by The Press and Journal have shown that less than half of all health workers were immunised last year, and worries are growing for a similar situation this winter.
It has prompted fears that scores of vulnerable patients could be at risk of picking up the virus when they simply go in to get their injection.
During the 2017-18 year, just 45.7% of staff across Scotland eligible to receive a jab did so – including 44.5% in the Highlands and 42.9% in the Western Isles.
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NHS Grampian was unable to provide exact figures, as many staff members will get the vaccine via their GP, but a spokesman stressed “thousands” of its workers protect themselves from the virus each year.
In August health bosses announced a 60% target for frontline staff being vaccinated this winter.
Last night Jamie Weir, spokesman for NHS Grampian patient group Pact, said described the overall figures as “disappointing”.
He said: “Given that patients may be exposed to the flu virus from possible infective staff, it is really important that the uptake is higher.
“The slightly positive note is that the percentage uptake has been rising over the years but further education to staff is essential in order to protect both patients and themselves from the risk of infection.”
His sentiments have been echoed by Aberdeenshire West Scottish Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett, who said: “Hospitals and clinics are the first places you’d expect full protection from contact illnesses.
“Obviously immunisation only really works if everyone who needs it has their immunity boosted.
“So it’s disappointing the number of health professionals taking up the offer is still so low.”
While it had previously confirmed that “more than 40%” of its workers received the flu jab in 2014, NHS Grampian said its current record-keeping system does not track the figures.
Mr Burnett added: “I’m sure there’s still less chance of picking up bugs in an NHS Grampian ward than in any public setting.
“But it would be best if the board starts collecting this information, for public peace of mind.”
A spokesman for the health board said: “Vaccination rates are difficult to measure as there are a variety of places that people can be vaccinated.
“That said, last year NHS Grampian administered the vaccine to thousands of staff at our specially organised staff clinics and many others arranged to get the vaccine themselves through their own GP or local pharmacy.
“We try to make the process as easy as possible and available in convenient locations.”
Meanwhile a Highland health board spokesman said that uptake among frontline staff is higher – pointing to a 62% figure for Raigmore last year.
But he added: “Along with all other boards we are seeking to increase staff uptake further.”