Parents in Solihull are being encouraged to get their children vaccinated against flu.
The flu vaccine for children is a quick and painless nasal spray and is free on the NHS for:
- children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2021 – born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2019
- all primary school children (reception to year 6)
- all year 7 to year 11 children in secondary school
- children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions
The nasal spray vaccine offers the best protection for children. Children will be offered the flu vaccine injection if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them. It is administered either at their GP surgery or at school for those in reception to Year 11. Home-schooled children will be invited to have their vaccine at a community clinic.
Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Councillor Tony Dicicco, said: “Having the flu vaccine will help protect your child from what can be a very nasty illness in children. Children under the age of 5 years old have the highest rate of hospital admission of any age group.
“The nasal spray offers the best defence against flu and its potentially serious consequences and can reduce the spread of flu to more vulnerable family members and friends. It can help you avoid having to take time off work and your child missing school because they have flu.
“Please take up the offer of the free vaccine. If your child attends primary school or is in year 7 to 11 at secondary school, sign and return the consent form allowing your child to have the flu vaccine at school.”
Dr Richard Mendelsohn, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG, said: "It’s more important than ever that as many people as possible, including children and young people, get their flu vaccinations. COVID-19 has highlighted just how vital it is for us all to do what we can to protect ourselves and each other, and it couldn’t be easier to get the vaccine at your GP or a local pharmacy.
“This year, our immunity to flu may be lower than usual. This is because lockdowns, social distancing and other measures that were in place to protect people from COVID-19 meant there were lower levels of flu circulating last year, so we didn’t build up immunity within the population.
He continued: “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. Research has also shown that people who became infected with both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time were twice as likely to have more extreme symptoms.
“I know some parents can be quite anxious about their children getting the flu vaccine, but the entire process is incredibly quick and easy and health professionals are trained in how to make you and your child as comfortable as possible.”
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 is delivering the flu programme locally in schools for more information.