Parents and carers of children aged 2-5 are being urged to get their child immunised against flu, particularly as immunity levels may be lower this year.
Appointment letters are now arriving inviting parents and carers of 2 to 5-year-olds forward for the free flu nasal spray. The spray is a quick and painless way of delivering the flu vaccine to children and won’t give the child flu. The letters will include details on where and when the vaccine will be given.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nicola Steedman, said:
“Flu can be serious, even for healthy children and young people. That’s why we’re immunising all children aged 2 up to secondary school pupils in S6 against flu this year. With public health restrictions in place last year, everybody, including young children were not exposed to the flu virus and are likely to have lower immunity to flu than in previous years.
“I’d urge all parents and carers to take up the offer of getting the free flu vaccine for their child this year and help stop the spread of flu. The vaccine is safe and offers the best protection we have against flu.”
Scottish Government Public Health Minister Maree Todd said:
“More people than ever are being offered the flu vaccine and we hope to see a large uptake amongst pupils as we aim to keep flu out of schools this year.
“If you’ve not missed the deadline for returning consent forms to your school, I’d urge you to complete and return these now. Last year with the public health measures that were in place, there was lower levels of flu than there has been in previous years so our immunity levels to flu may be lower this year.
“The vaccines are safe and the best way to help protect you, and others, from flu this winter.”
Over four million people will be offered the free flu vaccine this year with secondary school pupils eligible for the first time.
Running until December all primary and secondary school pupils will be offered the vaccine which is given as a painless nasal spray.
For more information about the flu vaccine, visit www.nhsinfrom.scot/childflu, call 0800 030 8013.
In a small number of cases, the nasal spray may not be suitable, and the vaccine can be given as an injection in the arm instead.
In Orkney all Flu vaccinations for those patients registered with a GP Practice Mainland and linked south isles will be delivered by NHS Orkney and not through your local GP Practice this year. NHS Orkney asks islanders to please be patient and not to phone your GP Practice regarding this.
If you have to reschedule your appointment, you can find information on doing this in your child’s vaccination letter.
This year, the following groups are eligible for the flu vaccine:
- all those aged 50 years of age and over
- those over 6 months of age with a medical condition which puts them in an ‘at risk’ group such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, heart and lung diseases, or autoimmune disorders.
- healthcare workers
- social care workers who deliver direct personal care
- unpaid and young carers
- pregnant women (including those with at risk conditions)
- children aged 2-5 years old (not yet at school)
- primary school children
- secondary school pupils
- NHS independent contractors including GP, dental and optometry practices, community pharmacists and laboratory staff working on COVID-19 testing
- teachers, nursery teachers and support staff in close contact with pupils (in both a local authority and independent setting)
- prison staff and support staff in close contact with the prison population (delivering direct detention services)
- those in the prison population
The flu virus changes every year, so you need to get the vaccine every year to stay protected. The flu vaccine cannot give you flu, but it can stop you catching it. The COVID-19 vaccine does not offer any protection from flu, you need to get the separate flu vaccine.