Children across Walsall will be offered a free flu vaccination from this month.
This year, children have been prioritised to get the flu vaccine from September to protect them and help stop the virus spreading to others.
Children can get a flu vaccine through their GP practice if they are aged 2 and 3 years old, or if they have certain health conditions and are aged between 6 months and 17 years old.
School-aged children (from reception to Year 11) will also be able to get the flu vaccine at school through the school vaccination programme delivered by Vaccination UK. The vaccine is usually given through a nasal spray. However, a pork gelatine free alternative is available as an injection if the nasal spray is not suitable.
Parents and carers will receive consent forms before vaccinations are scheduled to take place in their child’s school. The easiest way to complete the consent form is online through the Vaccination UK website. https://midlands.schoolvaccination.uk/flu/2023/walsall
The vaccination is free and recommended for all children eligible.
Councillor Gary Flint, Portfolio Holder for Wellbeing, Leisure and Public Spaces at Walsall Council, said:
“Flu can be serious in children. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect your child from flu. It is safe and effective, and it can help to prevent your child from becoming unwell, missing school and spreading the flu to others. I would urge parents and carers to make sure their child is able to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible. Some children in at risk groups are also eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine this winter also.
“I would like to thank everyone who is playing their role to facilitate childhood immunisations. As we head into autumn and winter, it is important that uptake of seasonal vaccinations and other routine immunisations, such as MMR, for eligible children and young people, is encouraged. This will help to reduce absences and minimise disruption to education.”
Dr Fiona Rose, local GP and Clinical Director for Quality and Safety for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said:
“Flu can be an unpleasant illness for children and sometimes causes serious complications. The good news is that vaccination greatly reduces the risk and protects the vaccinated person and those around them.
“Children can catch and spread flu easily so vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable such as babies and older people. Most children will receive the vaccine through a nasal spray into each nostril. It is quick and painless and is the best available protection against flu.
“The vaccine reduces your chances of getting flu in the first place and also reduces the risks associated with flu. If your child were to get the flu, it's also much milder and they will recover much more quickly.”
Children aged between six months and two years and are in a high-risk group for flu will be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray. This is because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under two years.
Children aged two to 17 years may also have the flu vaccine injection if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them.
For more information on the flu vaccination for children, visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/