Thousands of children in Wolverhampton are being offered protection against flu as the biggest ever vaccination programme gets underway.

Public Health England estimates that more than 447,500 children aged between 2 and 7 in the West Midlands will be offered a free vaccination this year. It will once again be administered via a painless nasal spray, with the vaccination programme extended to pupils in Year 3 for the first time.

Parents of children aged 2, 3 and 4 can get their nasal spray vaccination from their GP. Parents of children in school Years 1, 2 and 3 are asked to give permission for their child to receive the free nasal spray vaccination at school.

Meanwhile, "at risk" adults, including those with long term health conditions, pregnant women and those over 65, will also be offered a free vaccination, via injection, helping to reduce the spread of infection to the most vulnerable in the community.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "It is estimated that several million people get flu each winter and it can be particularly dangerous for those with long term health conditions, so it's very important that children and adults who are deemed to be at risk take this opportunity and have their free vaccination.

"By increasing the number of people who are vaccinated against flu, we can help to prevent the spread of the virus around Wolverhampton. Even if you are not eligible for the free vaccination, you can still arrange to have it for a small charge at a high street pharmacy."

Dr Ash Banerjee, Screening and Immunisation lead with PHE West Midlands, said: "Flu can be much more dangerous for children than parents realise, and of course, when they get it, they tend to spread it around the whole family. Every year, thousands of children get sick and it is not uncommon for them to be admitted to hospital.

"The single best way to help protect your little ones, and the rest of the family, is to get them vaccinated. For most it is not even an injection, it's just a quick, easy and painless nasal spray."

People can help stop the spread of flu by:

  • washing their hands frequently with soap and water
  • cleaning surfaces such as computer keyboards, phones and door handles
  • using tissues to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze.

The Stay Well This Winter roadshow will be in Wolverhampton's Mander Centre on Monday and Tuesday (17 and 18 October), providing information about how you and your family can stay well this winter. A nurse will also be on hand to talk to anyone who has any questions.

To find out more about staying well this winter, please visit Type=links;Linkid=7673;Title=Stay Well This Winter;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Thursday 13 October, 2016