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SNP MSP Gordon Macdonald has urged parents in Edinburgh to “trust the facts” and make sure their child is vaccinated for flu this winter.

This week, The Scottish Government has launched its annual national flu vaccination programme – with a focus on people with health conditions and children aged 2-5.

Every year thousands of children are hospitalised with flu. Even healthy children can become seriously ill from it. Protecting children can also stop the virus from spreading to family, friends and others.

To date more than 1.6 million doses of the nasal vaccine have been given to 2-11 year olds as part of the Scottish childhood immunisation programme. But more parents and carers are being urged to take up the offer.

Everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people at most risk of serious illness are offered the flu vaccination on the NHS.

Gordon Macdonald MSP

Gordon said: “Getting your kids vaccinated is free and only takes a few minutes – but it helps to protect against the flu bug for around a year.

“The flu is no joke. There’s plenty of misinformation about vaccines online – but it’s important that parents in Edinburgh trust the facts.

“Staff at NHS Lothian are doing a tremendous job with a tough time of year ahead and we should all do our bit to not add unnecessary pressure on the health service.

“If you or your children are eligible, make sure that getting the vaccination is a priority and book an appointment with your GP practice or health board as soon as possible.”

The following groups are eligible for the free flu vaccine:

• Children aged 2-11 years old. 2-5 year olds and not yet in school will be vaccinated at their GP practice. 5-11 year olds will be vaccinated at school during the autumn term. Children must be aged 2 on 1st September 2019.

• Those over 6 months of age with a medical condition which puts them in an ‘at risk’ group such as diabetes, heart or kidney disease, and breathing problems. For a full list of health conditions, see NHS Inform.

• Pregnant women (including those with at risk health conditions).

• Those aged 65 years of age and over.

• Unpaid carers.

• NHS Scotland workers.