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Parents on Arran are being urged to return their children’s flu vaccination consent form as soon as possible to ensure they are protected against flu this winter.
This year’s childhood flu vaccination programme will see over 2,000 schools across Scotland offer the free nasal vaccine to more than 450,000 primary school pupils.
Health professionals are reminding parents of the benefits of the free nasal vaccine as figures reveal over a quarter, (27 per cent) of the children eligible didn’t receive the vaccine last year. As no child will receive the vaccination without consent, the importance of returning a completed form, which has been sent home in school bags, has been highlighted in a bid to ensure more children in Scotland are protected.
Dr Gregor Smith, deputy chief medical officer for Scotland said: ‘As always we’re urging all parents across Scotland to join the fight against flu by getting their children vaccinated as early as possible this winter.
‘Getting the free nasal vaccine only takes a few minutes but can protect your child from flu for up to a year so it really is the best defence against the virus which can be extremely infectious and serious.
‘Even the healthiest of children can fall seriously ill from flu so that’s why it’s so important that they get their vaccine at school so that we can help prevent the spread of the virus to family, friends and others around them’.
To date, more than 1.2 million doses of the nasal vaccine have been given to 2 to11-year-olds in Scotland as part Scottish childhood flu immunisation programme.
Dr Elvira Garcia, NHS Ayrshire & Arran immunisation coordinator, said: ‘Getting the flu vaccine is particularly important for children with health conditions, such as diabetes or chronic heart disease.
‘We are asking parents to return the completed consent form on time to ensure their child receives the free flu vaccination this winter.
‘The vaccine is simply the best defence against flu and not only helps protect your children but it also helps reduces the spread of the virus amongst others.’
The programme is expected to eventually prevent an estimated 200 deaths a year, and 1,100 hospitalisations from flu.
For guidance on completing the consent form and for more information on the childhood flu vaccine, visit www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/childflu or phone NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.