PARENTS of primary school children in North Ayrshire are being urged to return the flu vaccine consent form as soon as possible to ensure their child is protected from the flu.

All children of that age 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.

The pupils have all received a consent form from their school and parents are being asked to return them quickly as no child can receive the vaccine without it.

The procedure is a simple nasal spray that’s quick and pain free and with children being up to three times more likely to be ill with flu than adults, it is important to protect two to 11-year-olds.

Theresa Carswell, Immunisation Co-ordinator for Ayrshire & Arran, 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 programme will be rolled out in schools across Ayrshire and Arran this autumn and only children who have been given consent to be vaccinated will receive it.

“Flu can lead to serious health problems in children, such as bronchitis, pneumonia and middle ear infections. I urge parents to ensure that their child is covered from flu this winter.” Dr Nicola Steedman, Acting Deputy Chief Medical Officer, agrees that it is important for parents to take the opportunity to protect their child from the virus.

She 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 or call the NHS inform helpline on 0800 22 44 88.