Annual flu vaccination programme gets under way as children return to school

Annual flu vaccination programme gets under way as children return to school image

Home » Annual flu vaccination programme gets under way as children return to school

Parents have been urged to get their children immunised against flu, as the annual vaccination campaign gets under way.

Children from Reception to Year 11 will be offered a vaccination at school.  For eligible pre-school children (aged two years or over on 31 August 2023, or aged six months and over who are in a clinical risk group), general practices will also be inviting parents to bring their children along in the coming weeks.

For most children aged two years and over, the flu immunisation will be offered as a nasal spray, although an injection is also available for those who cannot receive the nasal spray version of the vaccine.  For those under two years who are eligible, the vaccination will be delivered as an injection.

Although flu is an unpleasant illness for most people, it can be dangerous and even life-threatening for some.  Bronchitis and pneumonia are just two of the potential complications which can arise from a flu infection.

Dr Sarah Whiteman, chief medical director at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“Children can catch and spread flu easily.  Every year, thousands of children in our local area miss out on valuable time at school because they fall ill with flu.  Vaccination doesn’t only protect them, but it also protects others who are vulnerable, such as babies and older people.

“If your child is at a primary or secondary school (Reception to Year 11) then you will have the opportunity to get them vaccinated as part of the school immunisation programme.  Look out for a letter in the first few weeks after children go back to school, asking for consent for your child to be vaccinated.

“If your child is aged two or over but isn’t yet at school then you can expect an invitation from your general practice.  Make sure they have your up-to-date contact details so your child doesn’t miss out.

“Remember: vaccination is free, safe and effective, and it can protect your child from a nasty illness this winter.”

More information on flu vaccination for children can be found on the NHS website.

The adult flu immunisation campaign will also run through the autumn as usual, with those who are eligible being invited to come forward to book a vaccination at their general practice, local pharmacy or a community-based clinic.

Supplies of flu vaccine will arrive in batches throughout the autumn or winter: if you are unable to attend straight away then you ought to be able to find a venue near you whenever you are able to take up the offer.

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