Parents urged to return flu consent forms

Parents of primary school children in Edinburgh and the Lothians are being urged to return the flu vaccine consent forms within seven days to ensure their child is covered from flu this autumn.
 
All primary school pupils are being offered the vaccine as part of the flu immunisation programme for children, which was introduced last year and resulted in more Scots than ever before receiving the best defence against flu.
 
Uptake figures for the region show that 66% of children in Lothian were vaccinated against flu in 2014 and even more children are expected to be vaccinated this year.
 
Parents of primary school children in Edinburgh and the Lothians are being encouraged to look out for their child’s consent form which has been sent home in their school bag, and are being asked to return it within seven days. No child can 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 is a simple nasal spray that’s quick 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.
 
The Scottish childhood flu immunisation programme, which involves the vaccine being offered to 2-11 year olds, is expected to eventually prevent an estimated additional 200 deaths per year and 1,100 hospitalisations.
 
Lorna Willocks, Immunisation Co-ordinator for NHS Lothian, said: It is vital for parents to return the flu consent forms within seven days to ensure that their child gets vaccinated against flu. This form has will be sent home in their child’s school bag, alongside detailed information about the flu vaccine.
“The vaccination programme will be rolled out in schools across the Lothians this autumn and only children who have been given consent to be vaccinated will receive the vaccination. 
“Flu can lead to serious health problems in children, such as bronchitis, pneumonia and middle ear infections. The flu vaccine is the best way to safeguard children and I urge parents to ensure that their child is covered from flu this winter.”
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 from the start of the new term. 
“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.
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20/08/2015