Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust will be delivering the school vaccination programme across a proportion of Hampshire, while Solent NHS Trust’s school aged immunisation team will visit all schools across Portsmouth, Southampton and on the Isle of Wight to vaccinate pupils from Reception to Year 11.
Angela Anderson, deputy chief nurse at Solent, said: ‘We are encouraging the families of all Reception 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.’
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.
The flu viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually.
Clinical leader at the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG, Dr Nicola Decker, added: ‘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 is also available from GPs, with children aged two and three, and any child aged six months plus 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.