All primary school children to get flu vaccine
By Sarah Wood
All children from reception to year 6 are set to be offered a flu vaccine before Christmas.
The vaccines will be delivered at school, making it more accessible to families and maximising the uptake.
Vaccination of children against flu is based on the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the independent advisory group which advises the Government on vaccination.
Benefits include protection against flu for vaccinated children and reduced spread of flu in the community. Children play a key role in the transmission of flu, including to those who may be at higher risk, such as the elderly.
Research has shown that vaccinating large numbers of children has reduced the circulation of flu in the community. This has reduced the number of GP consultations for flu-like illness for vaccinated children and the wider community and reduced hospital admissions from flu.
For schools, the benefits include reduced absenteeism and the reduced likelihood of teachers catching flu from pupils.
There have been very low levels of flu in the last two years because of Covid restrictions. This means that there may be an increase in flu levels this winter, because people will be mixing more and may also be more susceptible to flu as they have not been exposed to the virus.
Flu vaccination plays an important part of the Government's winter planning to reduce illness from flu and the potential pressure on the NHS.
Rather than an injection, children will be offered a nasal spray, which is quick, painless, easier to administer and considered better at reducing the spread of flu to others.
Schools will be in touch with families soon to let them know when vaccines will be taking place.
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