School Nurses from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust are preparing to offer the flu vaccine to 80,000 children, including years R and 4 for the first time.
The programme covers year R to year 4 all infant, junior and primary schools in Hampshire (excluding those in Portsmouth and Southampton city) and children who are home educated. Parents will soon be receiving information packs through schools. Children who are in pre-schools and aged two, three and four will be offered the vaccine through their GP.
Jane Levers, the Trust’s Professional Lead for School Nursing says: “The flu vaccine for children is given as a single dose of nasal spray squirted up each nostril. The fact that it’s needle-free is clearly a big advantage for children, and the nasal spray has fewer side effects.”
“It’s quick and painless and will mean your child is less likely to become ill if they come into contact with the flu virus.”
Jane added: “Flu can be very unpleasant for children and for adults. Children have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat lasting up to a week. Some children can develop complications such as chest or ear infections.”
Children or young people with long-term health conditions such as asthma and diabetes are more likely to have complications following flu.
These children and young people are all eligible for a flu vaccine. Parents are advised to speak to their GP or practice nurse for more information.