Parents are being urged to take up the offer of having their children vaccinated against flu to reduce the spread of the virus this Autumn and Winter.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust will be delivering the school vaccination programme across a proportion of Hampshire, whilst Solent NHS Trust’s School Aged Immunisation Team will visit all schools across Portsmouth, Southampton and on the Isle of Wight to vaccinate Year R to Year 11 pupils.

Flu is a highly infectious disease that is spread from person to person and infects the respiratory system, where it can lead to pneumonia and other complications. Symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles and extreme tiredness.

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By vaccinating children and young people, not only does it protect them, but it also helps to slow the spread of the virus within the community – which is even more important with COVID-19 still present.

Angela Anderson, Deputy Chief Nurse at Solent NHS Trust, said:

“We are encouraging the families of all Year R to Year 11 children to ensure that their child receives the flu vaccination so that they are protected against the virus this autumn and winter.

“Letters are being sent to schools outlining how our dedicated teams of nurses will be vaccinating children on arranged days, as well as offering evening and weekend clinics in the community, making it a really quick and easy process.”

The flu viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually.

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Dr Nicola Decker, Clinical Leader at the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG said:

“I want to encourage you to get your children vaccinated because the flu is a very common childhood illness and can be really unpleasant for them.

“The vaccine is a nasal spray – a single spray up each nostril – it’s quick, it’s painless and it’s really easy. People think ‘it’s just flu’ but unfortunately it can lead to complications and even hospitalisation which is why it’s important to have the vaccination.”

The nasal spray vaccination will also be available from GPs, with children aged 2 and 3 on 31st August 2021, and any child aged 6 months+ with an underlying health condition eligible to receive it for free. Children unable to have the nasal spray will be offered an injectable flu vaccination as an alternative.

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This vaccination is separate to the COVID-19 vaccine that is to be offered for those aged 12-15 from next week.

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