This year, more than ever, it is really important parents help protect their children against the ‘double danger’ of flu and coronavirus 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 ‘super spreaders’; they’re in regular close contact, so can easily and unwittingly help with the spread of the virus, in turn passing flu onto other, more vulnerable members of their family.
This is why the Immunisation Team at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust are urging parents to take up their offer of a free flu vaccination for their children this winter.
Caroline Halford, Head of School Aged Immunisations, said: “The children’s flu vaccine is safe, effective and free. Our immunisation team is offering the nasal spray to all primary school-aged children in Gloucestershire, from Reception year up. For the first time we’re also offering the nasal spray to Year 7 pupils, as well as an inactivated vaccine for those children who cannot have the live attenuated vaccine because of its porcine gelatine content.”
The Immunisation Team have been visiting schools in the county since the start of the school year in September. But if your child missed their flu vaccination when they visited, 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.
Inevitably, Covid-19 means the Immunisation Team have had to make some changes to the way they deliver the flu vaccination this year.
“Our nurses are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect your children, their schools and themselves,” said Caroline. “We know this might seem scary or strange to some children, so we have produced a short film to help parents and children know what to expect.
“We have been sending home information packs and consent forms in children’s book bags, so please keep an eye out for these and make sure you return the consent forms as soon as possible.”
This year’s consent form can be completed online, or as a paper copy. Even if you do not want your child to have their flu vaccination, it is important you give consent or decline the flu vaccination. Failure to do so will result in further contact from the Immunisation Team to ensure your child has received their offer of vaccination.
Dates and locations of the community children’s flu clinics can be found on the Gloucestershire Health and Care website at https://www.ghc.nhs.uk/our-teams-and-services/childrensflu/
To find out more, or to book an appointment for your child to have their nasal spray or attenuated vaccine, give the Immunisation Team a call on 0300 421 8140.