The 2020 schools flu vaccination programme got underway this week, with Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT’s) community immunisations team offering the nasal flu vaccine to pupils in Year 7 for the first time.
It is vitally important this year to make sure as many children as possible are immunised against the flu, as the virus will be circulating at the same time as coronavirus (Covid-19). This is why nationally the vaccination programme has been extended to Year 7 pupils at secondary school, as well as being offered to all primary school pupils as normal. Pre-school children will be offered the vaccine by their GP. As well as protecting children themselves, having the vaccine helps stop the spread of the flu virus to friends, family and the wider community.
For children to receive the vaccine in school, parents must complete the secure online consent form, which is a quick and simple way to give consent. They simply visit www.leicsandrutlandimms.co.uk/forms/flu and input the unique code for their child’s school, which the school will provide, and which is also available on the LPT website: www.leicspart.nhs.uk/communityimms. Further information about the programme, in a range of community languages, is available at https://www.healthforkids.co.uk/leicestershire/primary-schools-flu-immunisation-schedule/
Suzanne Leatherland, school age immunisations service lead at the LPT said: “We continue to work closely with schools to encourage uptake of the flu vaccination. This year it’s more important than ever that we protect ourselves from the flu within the wider community. We are also planning additional clinics from November so that any parents who object to the gelatine used in the manufacture of the nasal version of the vaccine on religious grounds can bring their children to receive a gelatine-free injection instead. If parents have any concerns, they are encouraged to contact the team via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0300 3000 007.”
Tim Marston, head teacher at The Roundhill Academy in Leicestershire, one of the first schools to welcome the team, said: “Children and young people have experienced so much disruption to their education this year, and we really want to ensure that our pupils, and their families, remain healthy and well. We actively promoted the nasal flu vaccination programme to our school community, both via our website, social media, school newsletters and by talking to our Year 7s and explaining how important it is that they receive the vaccine. We are delighted that we were able to ensure a very high rate of uptake.”
LPT’s Health for Kids website (www.healthforkids.co.uk) now includes a ‘Grown ups’ section, where there is lots of information and myth-busting advice for parents and carers about the schools immunisations programme among other topics. Parents and carers are encouraged to talk to their children about the flu vaccination ahead of their school’s visit date, and the ‘Flu Heroes’ video on Health for Kids (https://youtu.be/1jHWwm8NQUw) is designed to support this. In addition, a new video that demonstrates how to complete the online consent form will also be available on the site very soon.