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A special appeal has gone out to home-schooling families to engage with the annual flu vaccination programme.

NHS Western Isles is shortly set to commence the flu vaccination programme in primary and secondary schools. 

Consent forms were issued earlier this month.

NHSWI say they appreciate parents and guardians taking the time to return these without delay.  

NHSWI say:" "We would ask that contact is made with the school nursing team regarding any home schooled children to ensure that they also receive a vaccination opportunity on 01851 763340 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "

The programme will take place over October and November in all schools across the Western Isles, with most primary and secondary pupils receiving a painless nasal spray.  

Pupils of Stornoway Primary School will receive the flu vaccine at school before the October holidays (the week of October 4) along with any school pupils across the Western Isles who are considered to be at particular additional risk. 

All other schools pupils across the Western Isles will be vaccinated in the weeks following the October holidays, with the programme ending on November 12.

NHS Western Isles Director of Public Health, Dr Maggie Watts, said: “Flu is serious and can result in even healthy children and teenagers ending up in hospital.  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. If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, you can visit nhsinform.scot or speak to a health or immunisation team, practice nurse, or GP.”  

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.

For more information about the flu vaccine, visit www.nhsinfrom.scot/childflu, call 0800 030 8013, or speak to a health or immunisation team, practice nurse, or GP.