Flu nasal vaccine offered to West Sussex children

The NHS faces a huge deficit
The NHS faces a huge deficit

Children between five and seven years old will be given a free flu vaccine at school.

All pupils in Year 1 and 2 at schools in West Sussex are being offered the flu nasal spray to protect them against the virus.

Rosanna Raven, SCT immunisation nurse specialist, said: “Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for a child.

“Annual immunisation will not only provide important protection to individual children but will also reduce the spread of flu to their families and the wider community, protecting younger siblings, grandparents and others who are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from flu.”

All parents of children in Years 1 and 2 are being sent a letter explaining what is proposed and asking for a consent form to be signed.

Christine Field, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We all know children aren’t as good as adults at using tissues or washing their hands when they are ill.

“Young children can spread the flu virus easily to their classmates and often to grandparents and other relatives.

“Last year there was a lot of discussion about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine but it really is still the best protection we have against the flu virus.

“A new vaccine is prepared every year so we have the best protection against the viruses that are most likely to cause illnesses this winter.”

Pregnant women, people with long term health conditions, those in long-stay residential care home and people over 65 are also eligible for the vaccination.

Children should not have the vaccine if they are severely asthmatic or have a severe egg allergy.

Families are also being warned the nasal vaccine contains gelatine derived from pigs, which is ‘highly processed’ which some faith groups may have concerns about.

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