The severity of flu can be very dangerous particularly for people with health conditions and young children.
And this is why it is important to raise as much awareness as possible of the national flu vaccination programme.
That was the message from Fife-born actor Jordan Young and leading health professionals as they launched this year’s seasonal flu campaign at a Dialysis Unit in Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy this morning (Tuesday).
The campaign promotes the Scottish Government’s national flu vaccination
programme, with a focus on people with health conditions and children aged two-five.
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Jordan, who stars in Scottish soap opera River City and also in BBC1 TV series Scot Squad, is a father of two daughters: one aged two who will receive the free nasal spray vaccine for the first time, and the other aged six who will get the vaccine at primary school again this year.
He said: “I was delighted to be asked to take part in this, especially being the father of two young girls. I was one of those guys who naively thought flu was a severe cold and was no big deal and then I became a father and you start worrying about things more.
“I realised the flu can be intensely severe particularly to the vulnerable groups.
“My two will be getting vaccinated so the aim is to raise as much awareness as possible and to promote the benefits of it.”
Every year thousands of children are hospitalised with flu.
Nuala Healy, organisational lead for screening and immunisation at NHS
Health Scotland, said: “We know that misinformation about vaccines online, particularly on social media, can influence the decisions parents make about vaccines.
“That’s why we’re urging parents in this campaign to trust the factual information about vaccines provided by the NHS at flufacts.scot or from your health professional. Flu is unpredictable but highly infectious, and the flu vaccine is the best defence we have against it.”
Joanna Cowan is a mum from Dunfermline. She’s making sure her son Fergus
(3) gets the flu jab this year.
She said: “The flu is no joke. It’s dangerous for so many people - that’s why I’m making sure that Fergus gets the flu jab. At Fergus’ age kids bring home all sorts of bugs from nursery or playing with pals. With the flu vaccination I know he’s protected from a bug that can really harm him.”
The campaign also targets people with health conditions like breathing problems,
diabetes and heart or kidney conditions.
Fife dialysis patient Alison Miller-Duff, is currently receiving treatment for a long-term kidney condition, attended the launch with her four-year-old son Albert.
They both received the flu vaccine this morning and she revealed why it is so important.
She said: “There is still the misconception with the flu that it is a bad cold and it’s not.
“Even a bad cold when you have an underlying health condition can throw you and I just can’t imagine catching the flu with all the other things that I have going on in my life at the moment. It is just so important for me and the children to be protected. To keep ourselves as healthy as possible is so important.”
The launch event also marks the start of a national advertising campaign to raise awareness of the importance of the vaccination.
Developed by NHS Health Scotland, TV and radio adverts will encourage people to contact their GP practice now and get the vaccine.
Online adverts, including on social media, invite people to watch and share short animations.
Dr Jim McMenamin, who leads the seasonal flu immunisation programme at
Health Protection Scotland, said: “We can’t emphasise enough that the facts show the flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to help protect against flu and its complications.
“Getting the vaccine only takes a few minutes and helps to provide protection from flu for around a year.”
He added: “Contact your GP practice now, and get protected for winter.”