For the first time, this winter all primary school pupils in the capital are being offered the flu vaccine.
This means an extra 117,000 children will be protected from the serious, and even deadly, virus. This takes the number of Londoners eligible for the free flu vaccine to a record 3.2 million people.
Primary school children will be offered the nasal spray flu vaccine at their school. The schools programme is once again fully underway following a temporary pause in the ordering of the nasal vaccine caused by delays from the manufacturer.
Primary school vaccination clinics are being scheduled for as soon as possible but children in high risk groups should visit their GP to ensure that they are protected immediately.
In addition, all children aged 2-3 can have the flu vaccine free of charge at their GP surgery.
The flu virus can be serious, and even deadly in those who are very young, old or living with a particular health condition.
One of London’s top nurses Martin Machray is encouraging everyone who is eligible for the flu vaccine to have theirs.
Joint chief nurse for the NHS in London, Martin Machray said:
“I’d encourage everyone who qualifies for the flu vaccine this autumn to go and have it. It will protect you and your loved ones from getting ill this winter.”
You are eligible for a free flu vaccine if you are:
- living with a long-term health condition* or caring for someone who is (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease)
- a child aged 2-3
- a child at primary school
- aged over 65.
Professor Paul Plant, London regional director at Public Health England, explained:
“Flu really shouldn’t be underestimated – every year it makes hundreds of people in London seriously ill, so do get the vaccine if you’re eligible. The nasal spray flu vaccine for children is a simple way to make the winter months a lot easier for families in terms of keeping everyone healthy.”
The flu vaccine is the best defence against the unpredictable flu virus. It’s safe and effective, and it won’t give you the flu.
Flu is serious and different from the common cold. Symptoms include a high temperature, body aches and fatigue, and it can be life-threatening for at-risk groups.
The vaccine is available through school vaccination teams, midwives, general practices and local pharmacies.
It’s also vital that health and social care workers get the flu jab to protect themselves and patients. London hospitals and GP practices have been busy vaccinating their teams.
Aside from having your flu vaccine, the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to practice good hand hygiene. Catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
– Ends –
*For further information about flu vaccines with a long-term health condition visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/who-should-have-flu-vaccine/
Information for parents about vaccinating babies and children is available on the NHS website at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/
Find out more about staying well this winter at: www.nhs.uk/staywell