Parents of primary school children in Fife are being encouraged to look out for their child’s flu vaccine consent form being sent home in their school bag – and are being asked to return it within seven days.
Pupils from St Ninian’s R C Primary School in Lochgelly wore coloured satchels representing each day of the week to highlight the seven-day window in which parents need to return the flu vaccination consent forms.
No child will be vaccinated without parental consent.
Around 400,000 primary school pupils across Scotland will be offered the free flu vaccination this autumn.
The flu vaccination programme for children was introduced last year and resulted in more Scots than ever before receiving the best defence against flu.
The flu vaccination is a simple nasal spray that’s quick to administer and pain free. With children being up to three times more likely to be ill with flu than adults, it is important to protect youngsters from the dangers of flu and reduce the risk of flu being spread to others.
Susan Leslie, headteacher at St Ninian’s, said: “I am delighted children are now being offered protection from the ill effects of flu. The vaccination will make our school a much healthier place over the winter months as it offers protection against the types of virus that are most likely to be circulating.
“All parents of children at our school will receive consent letters and information on the flu vaccine in their child’s school bag and I am encouraging them to return the consent forms within seven days, to ensure their child is covered from flu.”
Dr Nicola Steedman, acting deputy chief medical officer, said: “Flu can hit children hard, which is why we’re appealing to parents who have children of primary school age to look out for the flu vaccination consent forms which will be arriving home in school bags.
“Even healthy children can become seriously ill from flu and the vaccine not only helps protect them, but it also helps stop the spread of the virus.
“I’d like to reassure parents that the vaccine has an excellent safety record and was given to more than a quarter of a million children in Scotland last year. Even if your child received the vaccination last year, it’s important they get it again this autumn as flu viruses can change.
“The programme will help protect more people than ever before from flu which is why it is important that parents return the consent form to ensure that their child is covered. The vaccine offers the best defence against flu this winter.”
Find out more about the flu vaccine for children at immunisationscotland.org.uk/childflu or call the NHS inform helpline on 0800 22 44 88.