Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging parents and carers to protect their children this winter by ensuring they take up the flu vaccination programme.
From September, the vaccination and immunisation team will be administering the annual nasal spray flu vaccine to 40,000 primary school children across Liverpool in a bid to boost uptake. Letters, consent forms and information leaflets will be issued to parents and carers via their child’s local school.
Nikki Wilinski, vaccination and immunisation lead at Mersey Care, explained: “Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness. Some children develop a very high fever or potentially serious complications of flu such as bronchitis or pneumonia.”
“The vaccine is given as a simple spray squirted up the nose. The nasal spray is painless, very quick, and serious side effects are uncommon. This vaccination programme is designed to protect children against flu.”
It is hoped that offering the vaccine through a nasal spray will encourage more children to be vaccinated. According to Public Health England, last year approximately three million children were vaccinated. Targeting children is particularly important as they are more likely to spread the illness due to not washing their hands properly or using tissues when they cough or sneeze.
“By having the flu vaccination, children are also less likely to pass the virus on to friends and family,” explained Nikki. “This will help to protect those who are at greater risk from flu including babies, older people and those with an underlying health condition.”
The flu vaccine provides protection against the strains that are predicted to circulate in the coming season. These strains may change from year to year which is why we recommend vaccination every year.
If you have any queries, please contact the vaccination and immunisation team: 0151 295 3833.