Flu vaccination rolled out
All children to be offered immunisation by 2015.
A new immunisation programme to protect children against flu will be phased in from this autumn.
Under the scheme, all children aged two and three will be offered immunisation against flu from this year, while a selection of primary schools in every health board area will take part in a pilot programme.
It will be rolled out over the next two years, with children at all primary schools and selected secondary schools being offered immunisation from 2014, and all children aged two to 17 being offered the flu vaccine from the end of 2015.
The changes follow advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Commenting on the extension of the flu vaccination programme, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns said:
“Flu is a serious illness and the extension of the flu vaccination programme will protect those children who receive the vaccine, and will help to protect against the spread of flu.
“The vaccine offers excellent protection against those types of flu virus that are most likely to be circulating each winter, protecting your child from a nasty illness that could end up with them having treatment in hospital.
“The immunisation is safe, quick and painless and has been used in a number of other countries, including the US, for many years.
“In addition, it is important that those people who are in the clinical at risk groups for flu immunisation continue to be vaccinated to protect themselves against the virus.”
The vaccine will be administered using a nasal spray, and will be delivered by a combination of schools and GP practices.
It offers better protection to children against flu than the previous injectable vaccine.
It will be offered to around 120,000 two and three year olds and around 100,000 primary school aged children in Scotland during season 2013/14.
By 2015, around one million children across Scotland aged two to 17 will have the chance to be immunised.
This year, all parents/carers of eligible children will be sent a letter from their child’s school or GP practice with details of the vaccination programme.
The regular flu vaccination programme will continue to be offered to:
• People under 65 with an underlying medical condition
• People aged 65 and over
• Pregnant women
• Health and social care workers
• Unpaid carers, including young carers.