Wednesday 30 September 2015
PRIMARY school pupils aged five and upwards in Sheffield are being lined up to be immunised against flu.
A programme to protect thousands of children from flu is due to begin across the city and will for the first time this year will be offered to some infant school pupils.
Now Sheffield City Council leaders are urging parents to make sure their children are protected.
Between October and December, youngsters from Years One and Two only will receive the vaccine in the form of a nasal spray delivered at their primary schools to protect them from the virus. This is in addition to two, three and four year olds being vaccinated by GPs.
This is part of a national phased roll-out of flu immunisation to children based on the advice of national experts and is expected to expand to include other year groups in the future.
The introduction of national immunisation programmes has meant that the incidence of many infectious diseases have significantly reduced, with some like polio having disappeared completely in the UK.
The vaccination programme is being delivered by the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Trust school nursing service with children given the vaccine in the classroom to cause as little disruption as possible to the school day.
Coun Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council said: “Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for children. Annual immunisation not only provides important protection to individual children, but will also reduce spread to their families and the wider community, protecting those who are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from flu.
“There is also evidence that vaccinating children will have a positive effect on school absenteeism by reducing days lost due to illness. I would encourage all parents and carers to make sure their child has this vaccination.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in our schools for allowing the vaccination’s to take place on their premises and for their continuing hard work in helping our public health team to deliver this programme.
“In addition I’m aware of some primary schools in Sheffield who encourage the excellent practice of checking pupils’ vaccinations are up to date at school registration and encouraging families to continue vaccinations.”
She added the nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way of protecting children from flu without the need for injections.
Stephen Horsley, Interim Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council added: “Flu is not just a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people. And it doesn’t just affect older people – healthy children are also susceptible to flu and its associated complications such as pneumonia.
“Flu is highly contagious and children can also pass on the virus to those at risk of becoming more seriously ill from flu, such as pregnant women, over 65s and those with a long-term health condition.”
Notes to editors:
The immunisation programme does not rely on parental attendance or involvement once informed consent has been provided.
On the day of vaccination children will be identified, supported and accompanied by a member of school staff.
The immunisation programme is being delivered by the school nursing service and a vaccine will be administered by a registered nurse.
Parents will be sent consent forms via the Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to complete.