The Immunisation Team at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust are urging parents to take up their offer of a free flu vaccination for their children this winter.
Flu is not just a heavy cold, it can be a very unpleasant illness for children and can lead to serious complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Children are also known to be ‘super spreaders’, due to them being in regular close contact at school and through extra-curricular clubs and activities. This
means they can easily and unwittingly help with the spread of the virus, passing flu onto more vulnerable members of their family.
Caroline Halford, Head of School Aged Immunisations, said: “The children’s flu vaccine is safe, effective and free. Our immunisation team is offering the nasal spray to children in schools across Gloucestershire, from Reception age through to Year 9. We’re also offering an inactivated vaccine for those children who cannot have the live attenuated vaccine because of its porcine gelatine content.”
The Immunisation Team have been visiting schools in the county since the start of the school year in September. But if your child missed their flu vaccination when they visited, or if they’re home educated, it’s not too late to vaccinate. As well as their normal school visits, the Immunisation Team are running countywide community clinics.
“We have been sending home information packs and consent forms in children’s book bags, so please keep an eye out for these and make sure you return the consent forms as soon as possible,” said Caroline.
“Parents with children in secondary school should look out for the information packs they will be bringing home.”
This year’s consent form can be completed online, or as a paper copy. Even if you do not want your child to have their flu vaccination, it is important you give consent or decline the flu vaccination.
Failure to do so will result in further contact from the Immunisation Team to ensure your child has received their offer of vaccination.
Dates and locations of the community children’s flu clinics can be found on the Gloucestershire Health and Care website at https://www.ghc.nhs.uk/our-teams-and-services/childrensflu/