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The main schools influenza (flu) vaccination programme has been completed in the Western Isles, with over 2,300 school age children now having received the best form of protection against flu this winter.    

The School Nursing team delivered 2,310 vaccines to primary and secondary school children in school settings over October and November.

There will be opportunities for any school aged children who were not immunised due to illness or absence from school, to attend another appointment at their school.  

The majority of children receive a painless nasal spray. The flu virus changes every year, so you need to get the vaccine every year to stay protected. The flu vaccine cannot give you flu, but it can stop you catching it.   

In total 1,403 primary children (around 75%) received immunisation and 907 secondary children (around 60%).  

NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts, said: “We would like to thank both the staff delivering immunisations for completing the schools programme so efficiently and also the parents and guardians for completing and returning consent forms.   

“Flu is serious and can result in even healthy children and teenagers ending up in hospital. The uptake this year amongst school age children has been good overall, considering that this is the first year that the opportunity was extended to secondary school pupils. 

"This winter, our immunity may be lower than usual due to lower levels of the flu virus circulating last year while the crucial public health measures were in place. Getting the flu vaccine nasal spray is the best way to protect your child and those around them, and will help prevent the flu virus putting extra strain on NHS Western Isles services this winter.  

“It’s more crucial than ever that as many eligible people as possible get vaccinated against flu. For anyone who missed their appointment at school, there are arrangements in place to ensure they can still receive their vaccination.”