Somerset primary school children are well on their way to helping fight flu after hundreds of children across the County have now been vaccinated.
For the first time, the flu vaccination is being offered to all school children in primary schools, from reception to year 6, and all children in special schools.
For most people flu is horrible, but not life threatening. However, for those in certain ‘at risk’ groups, flu can be. Many of us will carry the flu virus without showing symptoms and could unknowingly pass it on to the most vulnerable.
As reported in the news recently, confirmed cases of flu are starting to be seen in some Somerset schools. Getting the flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community.
Somerset Partnership’s school-aged immunisation nursing team (SAINT) is a dedicated team of qualified nurses and support staff who have been visiting primary schools across the County over recent weeks to give children the flu vaccination via a nasal spray.
A video of the SAINT team visiting Trull School near Taunton where young William received his flu nasal spray can be viewed at https://youtu.be/HddIL47E-Wg .
Suzy Mason, Team Leader of the SAINT team from Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “Flu can be really unpleasant for anyone at any age, but particularly for children. Some develop complications from flu such as bronchitis, pneumonia or a painful ear infection so it’s really important they get their vaccine to help protect themselves, their family and friends and to help stop any spread into the wider community.
“Being able to administer the vaccine in a nasal spray means no needle; it’s quick and painless which makes it perfect to give to children.
“There are cases where children shouldn’t have the vaccine but any parents who are concerned can check with us or with their GP surgery.”
Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council said: “Research shows that children are flu ‘super-spreaders’. By vaccinating young children, we know we can reduce the amount of flu going around. This may be very important if your child is in regular contact with older relatives or others with an underlying health condition, the frail or elderly.
“Thank you to all those parents consented for their child to be vaccinated this year as part of our schools programme, helping us reduce the spread of flu and reducing the pressure on our health and social care staff this winter. If you did not complete a consent form, but would like your child vaccinated against flu, get in touch with the SAINT team on 0300 323 0032.”
Parents/carers can view the dates when the SAINT team will visit their local Somerset primary school at http://www.sompar.nhs.uk/what-we-do/children-and-young-people/young-person/immunisation/immunisations/flu-dates-20192020/
People ‘at risk’ from flu and eligible for a free vaccination on the NHS include all children aged 2 to 10 on 31 Aug 2019, those in a clinical risk group, over 65s, pregnant women, those in long-stay residential care homes and those in contact of immunocompromised people.
If you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill from flu, you can also claim a free flu vaccination.
For more information, please contact the press office on 01823 355020 or email press firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
Somerset Partnership’s school-aged immunisation nursing team, known as Somerset SAINT, is a dedicated team of qualified nurses and support staff who give primary school children the flu vaccine (nasal spray), and secondary school children the HPV vaccination, Meningitis ACWY vaccine and the 3-in-1 teenage booster (tetanus/diphtheria/polio). The team concentrates on young children to give them greater protection against many life-threatening diseases as they’re particularly vulnerable to many potentially dangerous infections.