Child flu vaccination programme underway in Isles

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Parents of 2-5 year olds in the Western Isles are encouraged to join the fight against flu this winter, by ensuring their children get their flu vaccination.

GP practices across the NHS Western Isles area are providing the free nasal flu vaccine in a bid to ensure young children are protected. Primary school children will receive their vaccination at school.

By reducing transmission of the virus, particularly to at-risk groups like the elderly, the child flu vaccination programme is expected to eventually prevent an estimated additional 200 deaths per year, and 1,100 hospitalisations from flu.

Dr Maggie Watts, flu immunisation coordinator for NHS Western Isles, said:

“It’s very important that children between the ages of two and five receive the nasal flu vaccine this winter.

“The vaccine is the best defence against flu and not only helps to help protect your children, but also helps to reduce the spread of the virus amongst others.

“Getting the vaccine itself only takes a few minutes; it’s painless and will provide protection for up to a year.”

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said:

“We’re urging all parents across Scotland to join the fight against flu by getting their children vaccinated as early as possible this winter.

“The free nasal vaccine only takes a few minutes and 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. The nasal spray is painless, has an excellent safety record and it doesn’t cause flu.

“Even the healthiest of children can fall seriously ill from flu so it’s really important that they get their vaccine at their GP practice or at school. This will help prevent the spread of the virus to family, friends and others around them.”