Health Update

Flu Protection Across The Generations

The national flu immunisation programme was launched at the start of October and over two million people in Scotland will be offered the vaccine. For the first time, all parents of pre-school children will be contacted and encouraged to make an appointment with their GP to get their child vaccinated in a bid to increase overall vaccine uptake. The free vaccination will be offered to people with underlying health conditions, those who are pregnant or are older than 65, as flu can lead to serious complications which may need hospital treatment.

Over 550,000 children aged between 2 to 11 years old will be offered the nasal spray vaccination, following the extension of the flu vaccination programme in 2014. Children aged 5 to 11 will be vaccinated at school, with those aged 2 to 5 offered the vaccination at their GP practice.

As part of a national awareness campaign, healthcare workers will also be urged to get the vaccine to help protect themselves, their families, and patients who are potentially vulnerable to flu. Public Health Minister Maureen Watt, who is eligible for the vaccine as she has asthma, said: “As the national flu immunisation programme gets underway, I want to encourage all those who are eligible to join with us in being ready for flu.

“This year will see us targeting all parents of children aged 2 to 5 to encourage them to make an appointment with their GP if they want their child vaccinated, and we’re hoping this will lead to more people being vaccinated than ever before.”

Dr Nicola Steedman, Acting Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Scottish Government, added:

“It is important to protect youngsters from the dangers of flu and reduce the risk of flu being spread to others, so I am delighted that so many Scottish parents have consented to their child being vaccinated against flu. Even if you or your child were immunised against flu last year it is important to receive the vaccine again this year, as the viruses can change over time.”

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