Free flu vaccination for children

Child vaccine pilot.
Child vaccine pilot.

Children in Lincolnshire in their first years of secondary school are to be offered a free flu vaccination for the winter as part of a Government pilot scheme.

The Department of Health has decided to extend the national flu immunisation programme to all children aged two to 16.

A pilot scheme was launched last year to understand the best way to implement the programme nationally and is continuing in 2014/15.

Lincolnshire is one of 12 areas to be involved ahead of this winter.

Nurses from Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust are set to visit every secondary school in the county to offer the nasal flu vaccine to pupils in years seven and eight.

The vaccine, called Fluenz Tetra, was piloted successfully in neighbouring Leicestershire last year.

Dr Tim Davies, public health consultant for NHS England in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, said: “Fluenz is safe, simple and painless, and by having the nasal spray, children are less likely to pass the virus on to friends and family.

“This is important as flu can be a really serious illness for some.

“The immunisation is expected to be introduced nationally for all children over the next few years, but pupils in Lincolnshire are amongst the first to get it.”

He added: “I would encourage all parents of pupils covered by the pilot to discuss the offer of the free immunisation spray with their children.

“We strongly recommend they take up the offer to ensure they will be flu free as winter approaches.”