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Flu immunisation of school children across region gets underway

Flu immunisation of school children across region gets underway

Week commencing Monday 7th October 2019, saw the annual flu immunisation programme to protect school children across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire get underway.  


At the same time we reminded parents to fill in the permission forms and return them to school to ensure their child receives the vaccination.


The programme is offering immunisation to around 90,000 children in school years from reception to year six. Children and young people up to the age of 17 attending schools for those with special educational needs will be offered the vaccine.


This year, the vaccination programme is being carried out across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire by NSCP (North Somerset Community Partnership) and Sirona care & health. Around 320 schools will be visited by nurses as part of the programme, while home-educated children will be invited to attend clinics to receive the vaccine.


Last winter 65 percent of pupils from reception class to year 5 across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire were immunised. This winter, pupils in year 6 have been added to those receiving the immunisation.


Figures released by the NHS for last winter highlight North Somerset and South Gloucestershire achieved pupil vaccination uptake rates of 71%.


For North Somerset this was a half a percent rise on 2018, and the second highest rate for any local authority area in the South West. But the number of pupils this involved increased due to the additional year groups receiving the immunisation


South Gloucestershire saw a rise from 60.6% the previous year to 71% this year. In Bristol the rate achieved 55%, a rise of 8% on the previous year.


Sue Hoyles, Immunisation Nurse, NSCP said:

“The flu vaccination is really important for young children, who are more susceptible to the virus. Flu can make children very ill and in extreme cases death is possible. By vaccinating their child, parents are offering the best possible protection. Children spread flu because they don't always use tissues properly or wash their hands fully. Receiving the flu vaccine has historically reduced sickness levels in schools and workplaces.”


Karen Evans, Head of School Nursing (South Gloucestershire) and Specialist Services for Sirona, said:

“Vaccinating children protects others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies, older people, pregnant women and people with serious long-term illnesses.”  


Since September 2015 the children's flu vaccine has been offered as a yearly nasal spray free to eligible children.

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