Parents are being advised not to risk their child’s health this winter and make sure they book an appointment to have them vaccinated against flu.
The move comes as the flu immunisation programme gets underway and over 550,000 children aged between 2-11 years old are to be offered the nasal spray flu vaccination, following the extension of the immunisation programme last year.
For the first time, parents of pre-school youngsters have been contacted and urged to make an appointment with their GP to make sure their child receives the flu vaccine.
Children are almost three times more likely to be ill with flu than adults.
The sore throat, fever, aches and chills can make youngsters poorly for weeks and, in some cases, lead to hospitalisation, which is why it is so important for children to take up the offer of the free vaccine.
The flu vaccine for children is a simple nasal spray that’s quick to administer and pain free and will offer protection for a year.
Even if your child was immunised against flu last year, it is important to get the vaccine again this year as viruses can change over time.
Dr Nicola Steedman, the Scottish Government’s senior medical officer, said it was very important that parents make sure their children are immunised.
She said: “Every parent in Scotland has the facts they need about flu and knows how to protect their children. Even the healthiest of children can become seriously ill as a result of flu, so I’d urge parents make sure their child is protected by getting the vaccine.”
Nicola Armstrong has a two-year-old daughter Grace who will be getting the nasal spray flu vaccine from her doctor.
Nicola said: “I’ve had flu before and I felt absolutely awful. It was completely different from the common cold and I was bed-ridden for days. I want to make sure that my young daughter isn’t struck down with the virus.”
For more information visit www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/childflu or phone NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88.