Childhood flu vaccination programme in the Western Isles

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Parents and guardians are being asked to look out for the letter about flu vaccination for their child.

This letter will be in the post for children not yet at school and in the school bag for children of primary school age.

NHS Western Isles is encouraging all parents and guardians of primary and preschool children to take up the offer of vaccination against seasonal flu for their child because:

· Flu can be very serious.

· Even healthy children can become seriously ill from flu and can spread it to family, friends and others.

· Flu can lead to complications that may result in hospitalisation or even death.

· In Scotland, hundreds of children visit their GP each year with flu or its complications. Some of these children will be hospitalised for treatment.

· The flu vaccine helps protect your child against flu and reduces the chance of them spreading the virus to others.

NHS Scotland is offering flu vaccines for children using a simple nasal spray.

Who is being offered the flu vaccine this year?

The vaccine is offered to all primary school children, as well as children aged two to five years who are not yet in primary school. Children in secondary school are not currently included in the programme. However, children of all ages with a long-term medical condition will still be offered the flu vaccine from six months of age.

When will my child get the flu vaccine?

All children aged two to five years and not yet in primary school and all primary school children are being offered the vaccine between October and December.

Children aged two to five years

If your child is aged two to five years and not yet at school, they will be offered the flu vaccine at your GP practice. You will be sent a letter about contacting your GP practice to arrange an appointment for your child.

Primary school-aged children

If your child is at primary school, they will receive a letter, leaflet and consent form from their school, advising of the flu immunisation programme. Primary school aged children with long-term medical conditions may previously have received the flu vaccine from your GP, but now ALL children are being offered the vaccine in primary school.

Dr Maggie Watts, Director of Public Health, said “Flu can be a very nasty illness. Parents and guardians can now help protect their children and reduce the spread of the flu virus by ensuring their child is vaccinated. Most children will receive a simple, painless nasal spray. Please complete and return the form to school for primary school children, or make an appointment with your GP for younger children.”

All primary school children across the Western Isles will receive an envelope with a leaflet and consent form. The forms will be sent out through the schools in September. Completed consent forms need to be returned to schools as soon as possible.