Health chiefs in Wolverhampton have called in the Flu Fighters to help protect children this winter.

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Faced with a low uptake of the Fluenz flu vaccine among local children - barely half of those eligible for the free nasal spray received it in Wolverhampton last year compared to 58% nationally - they have taken the unique step of producing a colourful storybook to inspire youngsters to get vaccinated.

Flu Fighters Versus Chilly, Achy and Snotty, which has been distributed via schools to thousands of pupils across the city, tells the story of 3 slimy alien invaders from the Planet Bogey who have come to Earth "to spread disease and make the children of Wolverhampton cough, splutter and sneeze".

Fortunately, their dastardly plans are thwarted by a watchful nurse who protects our young heroes by giving them the Fluenz nasal spray and turning them into Flu Fighters.

Children in primary and junior schools, as well as school nurseries, will each receive a copy of the book, and children who receive the vaccine receive a special sticker to show they have become a Flu Fighter. The book can also be read and downloaded at Type=articles;Articleid=13239;Title=FREE Fluenz flu vaccination for children;.

The Fluenz vaccine is offered free of charge to all children aged two and three, as well as pupils from Reception through to Year 5 and older children with certain long term health conditions. It is delivered without the use of needles via a quick and painless nasal spray.

Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "With flu season rapidly approaching, it is vitally important that we all get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"The free Fluenz vaccine helps protect children and reduces the chance of flu spreading to friends and family, but we have struggled with poor uptake in Wolverhampton for a number of years - so this time we wanted to do something a little different.

"Flu Fighters is a fantastically illustrated, exciting story which can be enjoyed by children of all ages, and we hope the exploits of Chilly, Achy and Snotty will lead to an increased uptake of vaccinations this winter."

Dr Salma Reehana, Chair of Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group and a Wolverhampton GP, said: "It's really important that, when children are offered the nasal spray in their school, their parents agree for their child to have it given to them.

"It takes seconds to administer but will help us all to protect our children from flu, which can be a really awful virus for both the child and their family."

The Fluenz vaccinations began in schools this month and will continue after half-term. Any child who has missed their flu vaccination at school can still get it for free at one of three catch up clinics. They are taking place at: Ladies Walk, Priory Lane, Sedgley, on Friday 2 November from 9am to 1pm or 2pm to 3pm; Low Hill Community Centre, Kempthorne Avenue, on Saturday 1 December from 9am-1pm; and Wednesfield Community Hub, Well Lane, on Saturday 15 December from 9am to 1pm. For details of the clinics, please call 01902 682922 or email

Vaccinations for children aged 2 and 3 are delivered at GP surgeries, and parents and guardians are encouraged to contact their GP as soon as possible to arrange this.

To find out more about the Fluenz nasal spray for children, and to read the free storybook, please visit Type=articles;Articleid=13239;Title=FREE Fluenz flu vaccination for children;..

As well as the Fluenz 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 vaccine through their GP or pharmacist, while anyone else can get their vaccination from many local pharmacies for a small charge. For more information, please visit Type=articles;Articleid=3750;Title=Flu Vaccines;.

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  • released: Thursday 25 October, 2018