A local school is backing a campaign which was recently launched in Dudley to encourage more children to have their flu vaccine.
Church of the Ascension Primary School is supporting the campaign by handing out a colourful storybook, titled Flu Fighters Versus Chilly, Achy and Snotty. The illustrated book will be given to all primary school children across Dudley this winter, following its successful distribution in Wolverhampton schools last year.
It tells the story of three slimy alien invaders from the planet Bogey who come to Earth to â€œspread disease and make children cough, splutter and sneeze.â€ Their dastardly plans are thwarted by a watchful nurse who protects our young heroes by giving them the nasal spray and turning them into Flu Fighters.
The unique marketing campaign was delivered to thousands of pupils through Wolverhampton schools last winter. It resulted in an increase in pupils in all age groups receiving the vaccine, ranging from 7.8 per cent to 10 per cent compared to previous years.
For the first time, this year, all primary aged children in England, from Reception to Year 6, are eligible for the free vaccination, delivered via a quick and painless nasal spray.
Flu vaccinations in schools started last week and will continue through to December. Nurses from Vaccination UK will visit every primary school in the region, including pupils at all special schools. Parents are being urged to return vaccination consent forms as soon as possible to ensure their child doesnâ€™t miss out.
In Dudley this year, along with information about the vaccine and consent forms, free copies of the Flu Fighters book are being given out to all primary-aged children.
Dudley Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
â€œIâ€™m really pleased that the NHS is offering free flu vaccinations for all the children in our borough. The council is supporting uptake by running the Flu Fighters campaign. It is really important for all children to have the vaccination. Not only does it save them from having a nasty illness, but children are known as â€˜super spreadersâ€™ of all viruses, and this will help to protect everyone else in the family, including older or more vulnerable members. I would urge all parents to return their consent forms as soon as possible so their children can get the harmless, painless vaccination and protect themselves and their families against the flu.â€
Steve Hudson, head teacher at Church of the Ascension Primary School, said:
â€œThe vaccine is also available to children aged two and three, and children aged 11 and over with some long-term health conditions, through local GPs.â€
Dr Salma Reehana, Chair Wolverhampton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
â€œWith the flu season approaching, it is important that anyone who is deemed to be at risk takes this opportunity and gets their free vaccination as soon as possible.â€
â€œVaccinations in schools are now well underway and are scheduled to continue for the next couple of months. All children from Reception to Year 6 at infant, junior and primary schools in the Black Country and West Birmingham, and all children in special schools, are offered the nasal spray flu vaccination at their school. The vaccine is also available to children aged two and three, and children aged 11 and over with some long-term health conditions, through local GPs.
“Flu can be particularly horrible for small children who can develop a very high fever or complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. The vaccine can help protect your child and reduce the chance of flu spreading to friends and family, and the good news for children is that it is administered via a nasal spray.
â€œI would urge parents to please return their consent forms as soon as they receive them â€“ if they haven’t already â€“ so that their children don’t miss out on their free vaccine and are able to become Flu Fighters!”
As well as the vaccination for children, people with long-term health conditions, the over 65s, carers and care staff, people in long-stay residential care homes and pregnant women are also eligible for a free vaccination through their GP or pharmacist, while everyone else can get the vaccine from many local pharmacies for a small charge.
To find out more about the free nasal spray, and to read and download Flu Fighters Versus Chilly, Achy and Snotty, please visit https://lets-get.com/flu-fighters-dudley/
To see when the nurses are scheduled to visit your childâ€™s school in Dudley click here