Schoolchildren picked for flu vaccine trial

Dr Tim Patterson
Dr Tim Patterson

THIRTEEN primary schools have been selected for a pilot programme of flu immunisation, as the health board aims to offer the vaccine to more people than ever.

The trial is aimed at informing the best practice for the roll-out of the childhood flu immunisation programme.

For the first time, all two and three-year-olds are being offered the annual vaccine, along with a quarter of primary schoolchildren.

Over the next few years all youngsters between two and 17 will be offered it, in most cases the vaccine given by way of a nasal spray.

Dr Tim Patterson, flu immunisation co-ordinator at NHS Borders, said: “Extending the programme to over 4,400 normally fit and well children should greatly reduce the spread of flu across the whole population.”

Dr Patterson also urged those in at-risk groups to get the free vaccine from a GP.

“Flu should be taken seriously – it’s not the same as the common cold and the virus can have an immediate and severe effect.

“If you are in one of the at-risk groups, then it’s important to protect yourself from flu as it could hit you harder and last much longer. In severe cases you could even end up in hospital,” he said.