Programme to protect children

Children in Angus are to be given the flu vaccine as a nasal spray.

Children in Angus are to be given the flu vaccine as a nasal spray.

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Every child in Tayside aged 2 to 11 will be offered the flu vaccine from this autumn as part of a new immunisation programme.

With children two to three times more likely to be ill with flu than adults, the programme will help protect children this winter, and reduce the risk of flu being spread to others.

Children aged two to 11 are also being offered a nasal spray vaccine to help stop the spread of flu.

In Tayside 11,301 children aged two to five and 29,698 primary school children are eligible for the vaccination in 2014/2015.

This follows last year’s successful pilot where the same vaccine was safely administered to around 130,000 children in Scotland.

Parents of children aged two to five and not yet in school should make an appointment with their GP practice to get their child vaccinated.

Parents of primary school children should look out for and return the consent form sent home in school bags so that their child can be vaccinated at school.

The vaccine will be given as a nasal spray, following last year’s successful pilot where the same vaccine was safely administered to around 130,000 children in Scotland.

A small number of children whom the nasal spray is contraindicated would be given an alternative Flu vaccine.

Children get the same flu symptoms as adults. These are worse than a normal cold and include fever, chills, aching muscles, headaches and extreme tiredness.

Complications arising from flu can include bronchitis, pneumonia, painful middle ear infection, vomiting and diarrhoea.

For children with certain medical conditions, getting flu can be even more serious as it’s likely to make their medical condition much worse.

Dr Daniel Chandler, immunisation co-ordinator for Tayside, said: “Flu can be very unpleasant for children, and in some cases it can develop into more serious health complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia and middle ear infection.

“The vaccination programme being rolled out in Tayside will help protect children and stop the spread of flu viruses, which can lead to serious health problems.

It is a simple, pain free process which involves a small amount of the vaccine being sprayed into each nostril, which is then quickly absorbed. It really is the best way to protect children from flu.”

Find out more about the flu vaccine for children at immunisationscotland.org.uk/childflu or call NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.

For further information please call Ginnie Clark or Nicola Armstrong on 0131 240 6420.