Free flu vaccinations will be offered to children in local schools in the coming weeks.

This year, all children from Reception to Year 11 will be eligible for the vaccination, which is safe and effective. For the majority of children, the vaccine will be given via a nasal spray, not a needle. For children who require a pork gelatine free alternative, or who are unable to have the nasal spray for medical reasons, an injectable vaccination is available on request.

Vaccinations will be given by Vaccination UK nurses in school, starting with primary aged children first.

Schools will be providing information about the vaccine to families of eligible children shortly, and parents and guardians are encouraged to complete the online consent form as soon as possible to ensure their child doesn't miss out. Consent forms are available at Flu Immunisation 2023/24. Verbal consent can be given by calling Vaccination UK on 01902 200077. Requests for the injectable vaccination can be made when giving consent.

Children aged 2 and 3, and children with some long term health conditions, are also eligible for the nasal spray, with their vaccinations given at their local GP surgery.

John Denley, Wolverhampton’s Director of Public Health, said: "Flu can be deadly and is easily spread by children and adults. 

“The free vaccine is the best way to protect your children and other family members, particularly more vulnerable relatives like grandparents or those with underlying health conditions, from becoming ill because of flu.

"The vaccination is quick and safe and it's also painless for most children because, unlike the adult vaccine, it can be given via a quick squirt up the nose. Injections are available to those who cannot have the nasal vaccine for any reason.

"I would urge parents and guardians to complete their consent form as soon as possible, so their children can get their free vaccine and become a Flu Fighter this autumn.”

He added: “It’s important for children to get vaccinated in the autumn so they will have the best protection when flu season begins in winter. The vaccination takes a couple of weeks to offer full protection, so it’s important to give your consent in a timely manner.”

Last year, vaccinations were available up to and including Year 9 pupils, but it has been extended to include all secondary pupils for 2023.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), added: “Getting the flu vaccine offers the best protection against the virus. It is important everyone eligible takes up the offer, including secondary school pupils as they can fall very sick. Last year we saw some teenagers hospitalised with flu.

“Expanding the vaccination to secondary school pupils will help to reduce flu from being spread, protecting their friends and family and easing the burden on the NHS.”

To find out more about the flu vaccine for children, read the answers to frequently asked questions and enjoy the four exciting Flu Fighters stories for children, Flu Fighters Versus Chilly, Achy and Snotty, Flu Fighters in The Battle of Planet Bogey, Flu Fighters in Close Encounters of the Germed Kind and Flu Fighters on a Vacc-tastic Voyage, please visit Bug Busters