Parents in Solihull are being encouraged to take up the free NHS flu vaccination for their children.
The flu vaccine is offered to children aged two to three years, children of reception and primary school age, and, for the first time this year children in the first year of secondary school (Year 7). In addition, any child who is clinically at risk will be offered the vaccine from the age of six months onwards.
The vaccine is given to most children in the form of a quick and painless nasal spray. It is administered either at their GP surgery or at school for those in reception to Year 7. Home-schooled children aged four to 11 will be invited to have their vaccine at a community clinic.
Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health and Deputy Leader, Councillor Karen Grinsell, said: “Flu can be particularly nasty for children and can cause serious complications. Vaccinating your child will not only help to protect them from getting the flu, but it will help prevent it spreading to more vulnerable family members and friends.
“The nasal spray is safe, fast and painless and is one of the best things you can do to keep your child healthy this winter.
“Please take up the offer of the free vaccine. If your child attends primary school or is in Year 7 sign and return the consent form allowing your child to have the flu vaccine at school.”
Dr Richard Mendelsohn, the Chief Medical Officer for NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG, said: "This year due to COVID-19, we need to do everything we can to protect local people in vulnerable groups, and part of how we do this is ensuring children receive their flu vaccination.
“Flu can be spread more easily by children, especially to vulnerable relatives such as older grandparents, those with heart or lung conditions and pregnant family members.
"Public Health England research has also revealed that people who became infected with both Covid-19 and the flu at the same time were twice as likely to die. This is why everyone who is eligible, including children, is encouraged to take up their free flu vaccination."
Dr Mendelsohn added: "I know some parents sometimes feel anxious about their children getting the flu vaccine, but the entire process is incredibly quick and easy."
The flu vaccination programme in schools will be taking place in the autumn term. It is important that children have the flu vaccine every year or they won’t be protected as the type of flu can vary each winter.
Parents can visit the NHS website and Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust who are delivering the flu programme in schools for more information.