The call for parents in the Western Isles to get their 2 – 5 year old children vaccinated against flu has been stepped up as figures highlighting vaccine uptake across the area were released.
Just over one fifth (21 per cent) of eligible 2-5 year olds are ready to fight flu, having already received their nasal vaccination.
However the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Scotland has encouraged all parents to consider making an appointment with their GP practice to get their 2-5 year old vaccinated, highlighting that the risk of hospitalisation is reduced in those children that receive the vaccine.
This year, the free flu vaccine is being offered to around 2 million people in Scotland – including those with heart disease, those with health conditions which can make them more vulnerable to flu such as diabetes, asthma and bronchitis, pregnant women and children aged 2-5.
Dr Gregor Smith, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said: “Recent uptake figures highlight that there are thousands of those eligible yet to take up the offer of the free flu vaccine.
“Flu is very infectious and can cause serious complications for those who are most vulnerable, which is why it’s so important to consider getting vaccinated.
“Last year, 43 per cent of children aged 2-5 in Scotland didn’t receive the vaccine. This year, we want to make sure as many children in Scotland are protected so would urge parents who have not yet made an appointment with their GP practice to make it a priority.
“The nasal vaccine for children only takes a few minutes, can protect for up to a year and reduces the chance of the infectious virus being spread to those who are vulnerable.”
Dr Maggie Watts, Flu Immunisation Co-ordinator for the Western Isles said: “It’s very important that children between two and five years of age receive the flu vaccination this winter.
“The vaccine is the best defence against flu and not only helps to protect your children, but also helps to reduce the spread of flu.
“Getting the vaccine only takes a few minutes and will help to provide them with protection for around a year.”
To find out more about the flu vaccine and its benefits, visit: website or call NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.