Par­ents urged to re­turn child flu con­sent forms

The Arran Banner - - News -

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 more than 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 two-to-11-year-olds in Scot­land as part of the 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 re­duce 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.

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