Thousands of children vaccinated against flu to save lives this winter
PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 October 2020
Thousands of children across North Somerset are receiving flu vaccines in a major logistical operation led by Sirona care & health’s school nurses.
With approximately 100,000 children aged four to 12 across North Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire eligible for the vaccine; teams of vaccinators are working tirelessly to deliver a programme which aims to protect and save many lives this winter.
Sirona, a not-for-profit social enterprise, provides NHS funded adult and children’s community health services across all three areas.
Karen Evans, Sirona’s head of school nursing (South Gloucestershire) and specialist nursing services, said: “We have multiple teams of vaccinators travelling to schools across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire five days a week.
“On average our teams are attending nine to 11 schools a day; vaccinating children from reception all the way through to year seven.
“This is the first year our teams have vaccinated children in year seven which means there are an additional 10,000 children eligible for the vaccines in our area.
“Access to schools provides an ideal setting to vaccinate large groups of children which would otherwise put a strain on GP surgeries and pharmacies.
“Children who are educated at home, or miss a session in school, can be vaccinated in our community clinics by appointment.
“These are available until February 2021. And if a year group is having to self-isolate on the day we are scheduled, we will return later in the programme so as not to miss their opportunity.”
Children’s vaccines are given nasally, with a very small spray up each nostril.
Karen Evans added: “With Covid-19 still circulating in our community and the risk of catching flu and coronavirus simultaneously this season, getting the flu vaccine is a prevention which will not only provide added protection for those who are vaccinated, but also protect the lives of family and friends and alleviate strain on our healthcare system.”
Vaccinations will be given to children across BNSSG’s designated special schools, by Sirona, to children up until their 18th birthday.
Children aged between two and four years are eligible for the vaccine at their registered GP surgery.
Children in year eight and above may access the vaccine privately in a pharmacy if they are in a vulnerable group, or in contact with someone who is.
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