More than 2600 Primary School children have received the flu vaccine in the Magherafelt area
All pre-school children aged two years and over on 1 September 2015, and those in primaries one to seven, are being offered the flu vaccine as part of the programme. The vaccine is administered through primary schools and younger pre-school children can receive the vaccine from their GP surgeries.
The vaccine changes each year to cover the strains which are likely to be prevalent over the course of the flu season, so it’s important that children get immunised annually.
The vaccination programme in primary schools started on 15th October and completed at the beginning of December, to ensure that children are protected before the virus starts circulating.
Locally the school nursing teams have been visiting the 36 primary schools offering vaccination to over 3700 children in P1-P7 in the Magherafelt area.
Nearly all children will receive the vaccine via a quick and painless nasal spray.
The nasal vaccine has been shown to provide even greater protection for children than the flu injection.
There are a few children who cannot receive the nasal spray and they will be offered the injection instead.
Caitrina Shaw, School Nurse said:
“Immunisation for this age group is very important as the flu virus spreads easily and quickly, infecting both adults and children alike.
“Flu causes unpleasant symptoms such as fevers, chills, aching muscles and joints, headaches and extreme tiredness. These symptoms can last between two and seven days, and for some can lead to serious illness and result in a stay in hospital.
“The big advantage of the nasal spray vaccine is that it is needle free. It is a quick and painless way of administrating the vaccine and less daunting for children. There are also very few side effects, the main one being a runny nose.”
Susan Gault, Head of Public Health Nursing explained:
“Since implementation in 2013, the Childhood Flu Vaccination Programme has been an excellent achievement, demonstrating the skill and commitment of school nursing teams, school health offices and the commitment of parents to ensuring their children are better protected against this unpleasant and potentially serious infection.
“Across the Northern Health and Social Care Trust approximately 41,000 primary school children in 236 primary schools have been offered the vaccination in school. The overall uptake was 75 percent. This could have a significant impact on the amount of flu we may see.”
For more information visit www.fluawareni.info or speak to a member of staff within the school nursing team in your area.
22nd January 2016