Thousands of primary school children across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are set to be protected once again from the flu, as our community immunisations team begins its annual nasal flu vaccination programme of pupils from Reception to Year 6.
Last year, the opportunity to have the free nasal spray vaccination was open to 95,765 school children in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, leading to 57,053 children being vaccinated across 380 schools and units by our specialist immunisation staff during the nine weeks of the programme.
Suzanne Leatherland, immunisation service manager, said: “Once again we have an amazing team to deliver the nasal flu vaccination in partnership with schools. Electronic information packs have already been sent out to schools with the dates for the immunisation sessions.
“This year for the first time, we have introduced electronic consent, making it quick and easy for parents and carers to give permission for their child to have the vaccination. Parents and carers simply visit www.leicsandrutlandimms.co.uk/forms/flu and input their school’s unique code to complete the secure online form and provide consent.
“Through schools, parents are given the link to Public Health England’s information leaflet about the nasal flu vaccination. Our Health for Kids website offers a child-friendly version of this information, as well as a link to the Flu Heroes animation. Children who are home educated or not enrolled at school will be invited to an alternative community venue.”
Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus. Immunising all primary school children from Reception to Year 6 will not only help to stop the spread of the virus through the school, but will protect other friends and family members, including younger siblings.
The Fluenz Tetra vaccine is a simple, painless nasal spray that protects children against many strains of the flu virus. It contains a live, attenuated (weakened) virus which helps protect against flu infection in those who receive it. Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) does not cause clinical influenza in those immunised, and it is offered to children because it works well, has a good safety record and is easy to administer.
Dr Tim Davies, public health consultant for NHS England said: “Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children, and the Fluenz Tetra vaccine is the best protection available against this unpredictable virus. Flu infects many people, and each year can cause severe illness especially in the young and those with pre-existing medical conditions.”
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