Thousands of primary-age schoolchildren in Staffordshire will soon be benefitting from their annual flu vaccination ahead of the winter season.
Pregnant women, parents of children aged 2 and 3 years old and adults with underlying health conditions are also being encouraged to take up the offer of a free vaccination from today (October 8).
The free flu vaccines are being offered to groups who are at particular risk of the virus.
Children aged 2 and 3 will receive the vaccine through their GP, while children in reception and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 will receive it in school. Parents who have a child who is of the eligible age, are being asked ensure they sign the consent form allowing them to have the flu vaccine at school.
Thousands of children are expected to take up the offer of a free vaccination , which for pupils in primary schools comes in the form of a nasal spray.
Alan White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing, said:
“Schools can make very good breeding grounds for illnesses like flu, because children don’t tend to use tissues or wash their hands as much as adults. The virus is then at risk of being transferred to more vulnerable people such as the elderly and those with existing health problems.
“Each year in England around 20,000 children under the age of 5 are admitted to hospital with flu. It can be a very unpleasant illness in children because their immune systems are not fully developed and they suffer the same symptoms as adults.
“Nursing teams in schools right across the county will be administering the flu vaccine to school pupils, and I hope that as many eligible children as possible take up the vaccine. The vaccination is given as a nasal spray which is a safe and effective way of protecting not only the children themselves, but the people they may come into contact with.”
For more information on the free vaccine, speak to your local school or GP, or visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for more information.
Note to Editors
People who are eligible for the flu vaccine this year include:
a. Adults aged 65 and over
b. Adults aged 18-64 with a long term health condition
c. Children aged 2-3 via their GP practice
d. School children in years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
e. Pregnant women
f. Health and social care workers
h. Morbidly obese people