School flu vaccination program expanded to secondary schools


The dose of the vaccine is given to pupils using a quick and painless nasal spray

Both primary and secondary school children in Oxfordshire are being offered the opportunity to be immunised against influenza this autumn.   An expanded health protection campaign has just begun with more than 100,000 children eligible.

The first vaccinations began on Wednesday, administered by the Oxfordshire School-aged Immunisation Team from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.  

The dose of the vaccine is given to pupils from reception classes to year 11 using a quick and painless nasal spray.   In all cases parental consent has been sought.

Around 50,000 children were immunised last year, which is 73% of those aged from reception through to year 7 pupils.

This year’s campaign now includes secondary school children up to year 11.   Those educated at home and children who attend special schools are also covered by the programme.

Preschool children over two years old will be offered the immunisation by their GP surgery.

Ansaf Azhar, Director of Public Health at Oxfordshire County Council said: “The programme offers children and young people a chance to get their flu vaccines quickly and easily, protecting both them and those around them.

“It is also a good opportunity for them to meet their school nurses and health professionals and speak with them about any health-related concerns they may have.”

Fiona Singleton, Manager of the Oxfordshire School-aged Immunisation Team, said: “The flu vaccine provides the best protection against the virus and we are pleased that it has been extended to include all school aged children.

“Children can catch and spread flu easily. Vaccinating not only protects them but also those around them including those who are vulnerable. This is even more important now with Covid still present.”

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