PARENTS are encouraged to ensure their child receives the flu vaccine this winter.

The expansion of the national flu programme to now include secondary pupils will continue this year, allowing them to join all school ages pupils, all children aged 2-5 and all children aged six months to under two years.

Appointment letters for children aged six months to two years and those aged two to five will be sent out to their homes with their details.

Consent forms and information about the vaccine programme have been sent out to homes across Forth Valley, with secondary school pupils able to self-consent.

All primary and secondary school pupils with consent to be given the flu vaccine nasal spray will receive this at school between this month and mid-December.

Fiona Coan, manager of NHS Forth Valley’s immunisation team, said: “The flu virus changes every year, that’s why it’s important to get an annual vaccination so that your child has the most up to date protection.

“Getting your child vaccinated against fluan also protect them from other infections with bacteria that can follow flu and prevent them from getting sick and missing out on nursery, school or other activities.

“If your child is not yet at school, you should have received your child’s appointment letter in the post – please get in touch with us if you need to reschedule that appointment.

“If your child is at school, please complete the consent form and return this to their school to ensure they get the vital protection this year’s flu vaccine offers.”