Free flu jabs for pupils to stop sickness bugs spreading
PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 October 2018
The importance of getting the flu vaccine for children has been emphasised by clinicians as a programme to immunise school pupils begins.
Every year flu jabs are handed out to thousands of children in the South West, and the initiative has been rolled out again this month.
Around 70,000 children in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire will benefit this year.
North Somerset Community Partnership (NSCP), which runs Clevedon’s hospital, is one of the organisation’s involved in the programme.
Helen Court, immunisation co-ordinator for NSCP, said: “The flu vaccination is really important for young children, who are more susceptible to the virus.
“Flu can make children very ill and in extreme cases death is possible.
“By vaccinating their child, parents are offering the best possible protection.”
The vaccinations are available to children in reception to year five classes.
Students, aged 17 or under, who attend specialist schools can also receive one.
For the past three years, a free nasal spray option has also been made available to children.
In total, NSCP, along with Sirona and Bristol Community Health, will visit 317 South West schools.
Judith Brown, Chief Executive, NSCP, said: “NSCP has a strong track record of achieving high vaccination rates for children in North Somerset.
“We were delighted to team up with Sirona and Bristol Community Health to run the vaccination programme across Bristol, South Gloucestershire as well as North Somerset.
“We plan to share our best practice across the region and ensure as many children as possible receive this important immunisation.”
Maria Hennessey, Bristol Community health’s lead nurse, said the vaccinations mean illnesses and bugs are less likely to spread among classes or clubs.
She added: “Children spread flu because they don’t always use tissues properly or wash their hands fully.
“Receiving the flu vaccine has historically reduced sickness levels in schools and workplaces.”
Carers, pregnant women and people over the age of 65 are also eligible for a jab.