Get your kids’ flu forms in

Reminder to par­ents

West Lothian Courier - - Courier View - Mar­jorie Kerr

Par­ents across West Loth­ian 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 2000 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 lat­est 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 Scot­tish child­hood flu i m mu n i s a t i o n pro­gramme.

The pro­gramme is ex­pected to even­tu­ally pre­vent an es­ti­mated 200 deaths a year, and 1100 hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tions from flu.

Dr Lorna Wil­locks, con­sul­tant in Pub­lic Health Medicine at NHS Loth­ian, said: “It is so im­por­tant that par­ents re­turn the com­pleted con­sent form on time to en­sure their child re­ceives the free flu vac­ci­na­tion this winter. When par­ents re­turn these, please remember to sign the form as well as an­swer­ing all the ques­tions. 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.”

For guid­ance on com­plet­ing the con­sent form and for more i n f o rma t i o n on the child­hood flu vac­cine, visit www. im­mu­ni­sa­tion­scot­land. org.uk/child­flu or phone NHS In­form on 0800 22 44 88.

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