Primary school pupils in Greater Glasgow and Clyde will be offered a flu vaccine to immunise them from the virus.

Schools will be sending out consent packs to parents and carers the week beginning August 20 and will be asking for completed forms to be returned within seven days.

The vaccine will be given as a painless nasal spray to around 85,000 pupils.

A team of 30 immunisation staff will visit nine primary schools each day – 343 in total – from the beginning of October.

Linda de Caestecker, NHSGGC’s director of Public Health, said: “We want to immunise as many children – one of the most vulnerable groups – as possible.

“Vaccinating 85,000 primary children over a nine week period is a massive operation for our teams. However, it is hugely important as the vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which causes severe illness and deaths each year.

“If a primary pupil was immunised against flu last year it is important they get the vaccine again this year, as the virus changes every year. As a result, a different vaccine must be made every year, meaning annual vaccination is necessary for children.

“I’d urge parents and carers to return the completed permission form as soon as possible. Flu needs to be taken seriously – it’s not the same as the common cold and the virus can have an immediate and severe effect.”

Evidence from Public Health England has shown that where primary school children were given the vaccine there is a significant reduction in the number of people attending GPs and hospitals with flu like illness.