Every child in Lothian aged 2-11 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.
In Lothian, 25,595 pre-school children and 63,463 primary school children are eligible for the vaccination in 2014/2015.
The announcement marks the next step in the phased introduction of the childhood flu programme, which once fully rolled out will see all children aged 2-17 covered.
This is estimated to prevent an additional 200 deaths a year and up to 1,100 hospitalisations*.
A new campaign has been unveiled to ensure parents know how the vaccine will be offered, and how they can make sure their child is covered.
This term, 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. Parents of children aged 2-5 who are not at school should make an appointment with their GP practice from October onwards to get their child vaccinated.
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.
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.