The biggest ever flu vaccination programme in England – Stay Well This Winter – has launched and this year, for the first time, flu vaccinations are being extended to include children in Year 3, as well as Years 1 and 2 at primary school. Public Health England and NHS England has commissioned Boots to deliver the programme.
All Island primary schools have been contacted and parents will have, or will soon, receive information packs about the vaccination process with permission forms for them to complete. Permission forms must be returned to the school to ensure that children are given the vaccination.
Pupils will receive their vaccination via a nasal spray. This has a higher proven rate of success for children than the traditional injection, and is received much more comfortably. The programme aims to visit each of the Island’s 42 primary schools by the end of November.
Ashley Littlewood-Miller, healthcare partnership manager at Boots, said:
“We all know that at this time of year winter illnesses such as flu can quickly spread to vulnerable people, both within our communities and our families. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of making sure that our children are protected. The ‘stay well this winter’ programme aims to ensure that as many people as possible are protected from the influenza virus and this year for the first time, the schools programme offering has been extended to include year 3 children as well as years 1 and 2.
“The programme is now well under way in school clinics and I would urge any parents who have not yet returned their child’s consent form to do so as soon as possible. If we have already visited your child’s school and you do wish to have your child immunised against flu this season, we do have a second opportunity for children in the eligible year groups to receive their immunisation at one of the five selected Boots pharmacies on the Island; the locations where this service is available are Ryde, Sandown, Cowes, Ventnor and Newport. Please contact one of these stores to arrange your child’s immunisation and help them to stay well this winter.”
Councillor Phil Jordan, Executive member for public health, said:
“Flu is a very serious illness, especially for young children, adults aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions) who have an increased risk of developing serious health complications. Children are most likely to spread flu to others and this extensive project aims to vaccinate up to just under 650,000 children aged two to seven in the south east England. I would like to urge parents to return their consent forms to their child’s school, without delay.
“Through effective partnership working with our colleagues in the NHS, education and Boots, the Stay Well This Winter campaign will ensure that we can protect the most vulnerable in our society against flu.”
The national flu campaign- Stay Well This Winter launched on 12th October and vaccinations can still be sought through the family GP by appointment, for:
- children aged 2-4 years;
- pregnant women;
- people with underlying health conditions;
- those over the age of 65.
Community pharmacies across the Island are also offering vaccinations to all eligible adults as mentioned above.
People working within the council and NHS, who have regular contact with the community, may also receive a flu vaccination. Others who work for residential and nursing care homes and domiciliary care agencies are also encouraged to get vaccinated and should speak to their employer about arrangements for this.
Find out more about flu and the vaccination at: http://www.nhs.uk/staywell/.