Parents and guardians are being urged to ensure young children in the Highlands get their flu vaccination – particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
NHS Highland is recommending that all children aged between two and five have the flu vaccination this year.
The flu vaccine is offered to all children in this age group, who are not yet in primary school, through their GP practice.
Vaccination will help protect children against flu, which can be a serious illness even for healthy children.
NHS Highland said it was putting out a reminder for parents to ensure they get pre-school children vaccinated prior to winter setting in.
Dr Tim Allison, NHS Highland’s director of public health, said: “We would strongly recommend that all children aged between two and five living in Highland receive their flu vaccine this year.
“Immunisation will reduce the risk of children spreading flu to their friends and family, and vaccination will help GP practices and hospitals across NHS Highland avoid the additional pressure that a spike in seasonal flu would add on top of pressures caused by Covid-19.
“Practices across NHS Highland have sufficient vaccine available to immunise children.
“Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact their GP to arrange appointments for their children.
“Almost all children can have the flu vaccine as a simple, painless nasal spray which is safe and effective.”
NHS Scotland’s website state: “With coronavirus (Covid-19) around it’s more important than ever to get the flu vaccine.
“Influenza (flu) is a respiratory virus with similar symptoms to COVID-19. It’s likely flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading this autumn and winter.
“The flu vaccine will reduce the risk of your child getting or spreading flu to friends and family who are at greater risk from flu and COVID-19, such as grandparents or people with health conditions.
“The more people who are vaccinated against flu, the less likely it is that there will be a spike which would put pressure on the NHS on top of COVID-19.”
Further information about flu vaccination for pre-school children is available on the NHS Inform website at https://www.nhsinform.scot/childflu.
School-aged children started getting the flu vaccination in October.