School immunisation teams getting ready to offer the flu vaccine to almost 9,000 East Dunbartonshire primary school pupils.
A team of 29 NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC) school immunisation staff will visit 34 primary schools in the area from the beginning of October to immunise pupils against flu.
Schools will be sending out consent packs to parents and carers next week (beginning August 21) and will be asking for completed forms to be returned within seven days.
The flu vaccine is given as a painless nasal spray.
Pupils who can’t have the nasal spray for medical or religious reasons can receive the vaccine as an injection in the upper arm.
Children have the highest flu attack rates and are more likely to pass on the virus to family, friends and the wider community.
However, evidence from Public Health England has shown that where primary school age children were given the vaccine there is a significant reduction in the number of children and adults attending GPs and hospitals with flu like illness.
Emilia Crighton, deputy director of Public Health, NHSGGC, said: “It may seem very early to be thinking about flu, however we want to immunise as many children – one of the most vulnerable groups - as possible.
“Vaccinating 85,000 primary across the whole NHSGGC area is a massive operation for our teams. However, it is hugely important as the vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which causes severe illness and deaths each year.
“If a primary pupil was immunised against flu last year it is important they get the vaccine again this year, as the virus changes every year. As a result, a different vaccine has to be made every year, meaning annual vaccination is necessary for children.
“I’d urge parents and carers to return the completed permission form as soon as possible.
“Flu needs to be taken seriously – it’s not the same as the common cold and the virus can have an immediate and severe effect.”