A Black Country GP is calling on parents to make sure they complete consent forms to enable their children to receive their free flu vaccination this winter.

This year, all children from Reception to Year 9 are eligible for a vaccination, which is safe, effective and delivered via a nasal spray, not a needle. Vaccinations will be given by nurses from Vaccination UK in school, starting with primary aged children first.

Schools are providing information about the vaccine to families of eligible children now, and parents and guardians are asked to give consent online to ensure their child doesn't miss out. Consent forms are available at Flu Immunisation 2022/23 and must be completed at least 48 hours before vaccinations are due to be given in school.

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.

Dr Tania Hussain, GP and Primary Care Lead for Children, said: "I would really strongly encourage parents to consider getting their children vaccinated against the flu, and the reason for this is five-fold. 

"Number one, and most importantly, it protects your child. It will help prevent them getting seriously unwell with the flu, or developing serious complications.

"Number two, it protects you, your friends and your family members who are extremely vulnerable, such as the elderly and very young babies.

"Number three, there's no injection involved, so there are no needles.

"Number four, it's better than having the flu. The vaccine doesn't stop people from getting the flu but it will reduce their risk of it and, if your child were to get the flu, it's much milder and they will recover much more quickly.

"And number five, it helps reduce costs to you as a parent, because you are less likely to have to take time off work to look after a child who is seriously unwell."

See Dr Hussain’s video message in full at Flu nasal spray for children

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, added: "Flu can be deadly and easily spread by children and adults and the free vaccine is the best way to protect your children and other family members.

"I would urge parents and guardians to complete their consent form as soon as possible, so their children can become Flu Fighters this autumn."

The vaccination is available by injection if parents do not wish their child to have the nasal spray, or if children are unable to have it for medical reasons, for instance if they have a supressed immune system or severe egg allergy.

To find out more about the flu vaccine for children, read the answers to frequently asked questions and to download free copies of the 4 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 Flu Vaccines