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Flu vaccine pilot in children delayed over pork ingredient concerns

A childhood flu immunisation programme has been delayed due to parental objections to the pork gelatine which is an ingredient in the nasal vaccine used for the scheme.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said that their pilot programme - which is part of a major immunisation drive in Scotland - was ‘temporarily postponed’ in Glasgow to address concerns from a ‘small number’ of parents with a religious objection to the ingredient.

It comes after concerns raised by parents in Leicester last month, although that did not lead to any delays in the child flu vaccination pilot going ahead.

A spokesperson said: ‘This programme was temporarily postponed in Glasgow city to address the concerns of a small number of parents with a religious objection to the pork gelatine which is an ingredient in the vaccine.

‘We have now addressed this with a further letter to parents reassuring them that The World Health Organisation (WHO) offered guidance in 2001 following a meeting of more than 100 Muslim scholars in Kuwait. The scholars agreed that the advice to Muslim families is that gelatine of pork origin used in vaccines and other medicines is judicially permissible.’

‘Use of this substance in the flu nasal spray vaccine has also been approved by representatives of the Jewish community. We also confirmed that there is an alternative means of vaccination available and the programme will resume in Glasgow City schools on Monday 7 October.’

Scottish minister for public health Michael Matheson said: ‘The Scottish Government very much appreciates the help and advice provided by Muslim councils in response to these concerns and a letter has been issued to parents of children in Glasgow to offer reassurance about the use of the Fluenz vaccine.’