As we enter the 2021-2022 flu season, the Immunisation Team at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust are reminding parents of the importance of protecting their children against the virus by ensuring they have their flu vaccination.
Flu is not just a heavy cold, it can be a very unpleasant illness for children and can lead to serious complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Children are also known to be ‘super spreaders’, due to them being in regular close contact at school and through extra-curricular clubs and activities. This means they can easily and unwittingly help with the spread of the virus, passing flu onto more vulnerable members of their family.
This is why the Immunisation Team are urging parents to take up their offer of a free flu vaccination for their children this winter.
For the first time ever, the team will be vaccinating Reception-aged children in primary school, all the way up to Year 11 students in secondary school.
If your child misses their flu vaccination when the team goes into their school, it’s not too late to vaccinate. As well as their normal school visits, the Immunisation Team are running school-based clinics outside of school hours, as well as countywide community clinics. To book an appointment please call the team on 0300 421 8140.
The flu vaccine for children is delivered via a simple nasal spray. There will also be an alternative injectable version of the flu vaccine for those who may not accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products (the nasal spray contains very small amounts of porcine gelatine, which is used as a stabiliser in the vaccine). To request this version of the vaccine, parents/carers will be required to book an appointment at one of the Immunisation Team’s clinics.
To keep your children and themselves safe when delivering the vaccine, our Immunisation Team will be continuing PPE (personal protective equipment) practices and following NHS and Government guidelines. Aware that some younger children may not be used to seeing people in full PPE and could find this strange or frightening, there are pictures which show what the team will be wearing on the Trust website here ghc.nhs.uk/childrensflu
Information packs and consent forms will be sent home in children’s book bags over the coming weeks. Parents are asked to please keep an eye out for these and return their consent forms into school, either accepting or declining the offer of a flu vaccine, as soon as possible. Parents with children in secondary school should look out for the information packs they will be bringing home.
It is important parents fill out a consent form, whether giving consent or declining the flu vaccine for their child. Failure to respond will result in further contact from the Immunisation Team to ensure they have received the offer of a flu vaccination.
To find out more, or to book an appointment for your child to have their nasal spray or injectable vaccine, give the Immunisation Team a call on 0300 421 8140, visit the Children’s Flu Vaccinations web page, or check out the Immunisation Team’s Twitter account – @TeamImms – for updates.