Parents and carers of primary school children in Greater Glasgow and Clyde are being urged to act now to help protect their child from flu this year as part of the Scottish childhood immunisation programme.
With COVID-19 around, health professionals today said it’s even more important this year to get children vaccinated for flu, which can be serious, ahead of winter hitting.
Across Scotland, flu vaccination consent forms have started arriving home from school for all primary aged children, which parents need to return within seven days if they wish their child to be vaccinated.
The safe and effective nasal (nose) spray is the best available protection against flu for children - it only takes a few minutes to administer, is quick and painless and provides protection for around a year. Children will be vaccinated safely under strict infection prevention and control measures.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Scotland today urged parents to consider getting their child vaccinated by returning consent forms, not only to protect them, but to help our NHS avoid the pressure that a spike in seasonal flu would put on top of COVID-19.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nicola Steedman said: “Flu can be serious and can result in even otherwise healthy children being hospitalised. The vaccine remains the best and safest way to protect your child against flu and its complications, and also helps protect those around them who may be more vulnerable to flu.
“Primary school children can only get their flu vaccination at school if a consent form is signed and returned to their school, so I’d encourage parents and carers to look out for the form and ensure their child is registered for this year’s vaccination programme as soon as possible.
“The more people get vaccinated against flu, the more it will protect the population, and help our NHS avoid the pressure that a spike in seasonal flu would put on top of COVID-19. By everyone playing their part, we can help stop the spread of the flu virus this winter and continue to protect our NHS.”
Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde added: “This year it is essential we immunise as many children – one of the most vulnerable groups - as possible.
“Vaccinating primary children across Greater Glasgow and Clyde is a massive operation for our teams. However, it is hugely important as the vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which causes severe illness and deaths each year.
“If a primary pupil was immunised against flu last year it is important they get the vaccine again this year, as the virus changes every year. As a result, a different vaccine has to be made every year, meaning annual vaccination is necessary for children.
“I’d urge parents and carers to return the completed consent form as soon as possible. Flu needs to be taken seriously – it’s not the same as the common cold and the virus can have an immediate and severe effect.”
To find out more about the childhood flu vaccine, and its benefits, visit www.nhsinform.scot/childflu
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Notes to editors:
The childhood flu immunisation programme, for those aged 2-11, was introduced in Scotland in 2013.
Primary school children receive their vaccination at school from the start of October, with children aged 2 – 5 and not yet in school vaccinated at their GP practice or by or at local in clinics. Children must be 2 by September 1st to be eligible.
Children aged from 6 months with underlying health conditions are also eligible for the flu vaccination.
Pic: Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health