Campaign launched by the NHS in Blackburn with Darwen to protect families against flu
NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has today launched a major drive aimed at protecting families against flu.
The campaign, running across the borough, is urging parents/guardians/carers to vaccinate their children against flu. The vaccination not only protects the child, more importantly it helps stop the spread of the illness especially to those older members of the family such as grandparents. It can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.
Dr Preeti Shukla, a GP in Blackburn and a clinical lead at the CCG said: “It’s really important that we get as many children vaccinated against flu as possible as this helps protect other members of the community such as grandparents. When more members of a community have been vaccinated, there is less opportunity for the disease to spread to those who are at risk. Unfortunately, flu can be a devastating illness and even result in unnecessary death.
“Pregnant women, babies, children and adults who have chronic illness, children with certain allergies, and the elderly all rely on the vaccinated members of their communities to shield them from potentially serious illness.”
Councillor Mustafa Desai, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “I would encourage everyone who is eligible to get it now. It’s free because you need it, and could protect your family and people around you. More information on the vaccines is available from your GP surgery.”
Flu is a very common infection in babies and children and it can be very unpleasant for them. Symptoms are the same as adults, including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and a sore throat lasting up to a week. Some children can develop a very high fever or complications of flu, such as bronchitis, pneumonia and a painful middle ear infection. They may need hospital treatment, and very occasionally a child may die from flu. In fact, healthy children under the age of five are more likely to have to be admitted to hospital with flu than any other age group.
Councillor Maureen Bateson, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “It is really important for children to be vaccinated. Even if they are well and parents haven’t had chance to give it a second thought yet, vaccination is important to protect children from a nasty illness but also it protects wider members of the family, particularly the elderly, as children bring home so many bugs. It is especially important if your child or anyone in the family suffers from asthma or any other respiratory condition as flu can be a serious illness.”
Currently the vaccine is available free on the NHS for eligible children, including:
- children aged two and three on 31August, 2017 – that is, children born between 1 September, 2013 and 31 August, 2015
- children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four
- children aged 2 to 17 with long-term health conditions i.e. diabetes or asthma
If your child is aged two or three, please contact your GP to book your appointment and if your child is aged between four and eight, please ensure you sign the consent form which will be sent to you from school. Those with asthma or long term condition should automatically be contacted by GP.
If you want more information about when and how your child will be vaccinated against flu, talk to the GP, practice nurse or your child’s school nurse.
Councillor Dave Harling, Executive Member for Schools and Education, added: “I would urge parents to sign the consent form when it is sent home from school. I would also encourage schools to do what they can to promote the campaign too. As well as protecting the children, the vaccination can also stop the spread of the virus to the teachers and wider teaching staff, helping to reduce sickness levels during the winter months. “
The campaign will feature throughout Blackburn with Darwen at bus shelters, GP practices, hospitals and other health settings as well as through social media channels.