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Featured Thursday, Nov 19 2020

What to do if your child misses their flu vaccination at school

Due to the on-going effects of Covid-19 and general winter bugs at this time of the year, we appreciate that some children may miss their flu vaccination at the time of being given at school.

If this happens, and your child is aged between 4 and 12*, please contact The Berkshire School Aged Immunisation Team who will be able to offer you an alternative appointment for your child. Please do not contact your child’s GP as they continue to provide the vaccine only to preschool aged children, aged 2 and 3, and those children who have an underling health condition that puts them in an ‘at risk’ group for flu.

Here are contact details for the immunisation team – Telephone: 0300 365 0077 – Email: schoolimmunisationTeam@berkshire.nhs.uk

Charlotte Church, Immunisation Service Lead for The Berkshire School Aged Immunisations Team, said: “Our schools flu programme is going really well in Berkshire with over 39,000 children vaccinated so far. In total, we’re expecting to offer the vaccine to over 99,000 pupils compared with around 88,000 last year.

She added: “In light of Covid and general winter bugs at this time of year, we appreciate that they’ll be occasions when some children may be off unwell at the time of us holding their school’s flu clinic. In such instances, I’d like to reassure parents and carers that their child can still be vaccinated at one of our local catch-up clinics nearby.

“All you need to do is contact us ether via phone or email and we will provide you with a suitable time and date as long as you have filled in your child’s consent form.

“Without a signed form, the immunisation team will not be able to administer the vaccine.”

Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children, causing symptoms such chills, aching muscles, a headache, a stuffy nose, a dry cough and a sore throat. Some may develop a very high temperature or complications of flu, such as bronchitis, pneumonia and a painful ear infection.

The children’s vaccination comes in the form of a child-friendly nasal spray which delivers a painless spray into each nostril. It is needle-free, quick and painless.

Jo Greengrass, Associate Director of Nursing Quality and Safety for the Frimley Collaborative, said: “This year, more than ever, it is really important that everyone who is eligible to receive the flu vaccine has it to help us help you stay well this winter. This includes children.

She added: “The annual immunisation provides important protection to individual children and helps reduce the spread of flu to their friends, families and the wider community, protecting younger siblings, grandparents and others who are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from flu.

“It is also really important that we all continue to adopt good hand hygiene practices and to also remember to ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.’ to stem flu infections.”

For children whose parents refuse the nasal spray on the grounds of cultural or religious grounds due to the porcine gelatine content, they can now be offered the injectable vaccine as an alternative, subject to availability. This applies regardless of whether your child is being vaccinated in school or at their GP practice. Priority will also be given to children who have an underlining health condition that puts them at increased risk from flu. We will bring you more information shortly.