Flu vaccine drive for primary pupils gets underway

Parents & carers urged to make sure their child is protected from virus this winter

Tuesday 27th August 2019

Parents are being urged to make sure their child is protected from flu this winter by taking part in a school vaccination programme.

Over the next week, parents and carers in the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGCC) area will be sent consent forms for primary pupils.

The uptake rate for the flu vaccine among primary school children in the area last year was 76.6%, according to figures from Health Protection Scotland.  

Across the whole of Scotland, it was 72.9%, slightly short of the target of 75%.  

Children have the highest flu attack rates and are more likely to pass on the virus to family, friends and the wider community. 

Evidence has shown protecting this age group through a vaccine results in a significant reduction in both children and adults suffering flu-like illness.
 
Linda de Caestecker, NHSGGC’s director of public health, said it was important to immunise as many children as possible, as they are one of the most vulnerable groups:

“Vaccinating 90,000 primary children over a nine-week period 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.”
 
The NHSGGC vaccination team will visit nine primary schools each day – 343 in total - from the 7th October, with the flu vaccine given as a painless nasal spray.

However, children who can’t have the nasal spray for medical or religious reasons – as it contains porcine gelatine - can still receive the vaccine as an injection in the upper arm.