More children eligible for a nasal flu vaccination

Posted: September 6 2016

More children than ever before will be eligible for a free nasal flu vaccination across Hertfordshire.

More children eligible for a nasal flu vaccination

From left: Marlyn Cowan, School Nursing Immunisation Lead and Jill Sharpe, Clinical Lead for School Nursing.

The school health immunisation team at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust successfully vaccinated more than 18,000 school children – those eligible in school years one and two and all children who attend special schools – last year.

The service has since won the tender from NHS England to vaccinate this year, and the national programme will also include children in school year three.

In addition the parent consent form will be sent out via schools electronically, rather than through the post.

Jill Sharpe, Clinical Lead for School Nursing, said: “Schools will be emailing the consent form which is an efficient and accessible way for parents to receive the information. Parents will need to print it off, complete the relevant areas and hand the paper form into school to be recorded - a vaccination cannot be administered until a consent form has been signed and returned to the school.

“Parents must let their school know if they do not access emails and would prefer a paper copy of the consent form. Only children who are educated at home or attend special schools will receive a letter through the post.”

The flu vaccine for children is given as a single dose of nasal spray squirted up each nostril. It is needle free, painless and absorbed very quickly. It will still work even if a child has a runny nose, sneezes or blows their nose straight after being vaccinated.

Marlyn Cowan, School Nursing Immunisation Lead, said: “Last year was the first time children in Hertfordshire schools had received the nasal flu vaccination. We hope to increase the uptake this year.

“The biggest advantage of the nasal vaccinations is that children are protected from flu which helps to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to friends and family members.

“Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children lasting for several days causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness.

“There are very few side-effects to the vaccine, the main one being a runny or blocked nose which could last a few days.”

School nurses aim to begin vaccinating from Monday 10October.

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