NHS in Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging schools and nurseries to support a local childhood flu vaccination campaign, which could also reduce their staff sickness rates over the winter period.
By vaccinating two to eight year old pupils, it also protects teaching and school staff from catching the serious illness too.
Children are one of the main spreaders of the virus so vaccinating them protects the wider school and nursery population. Healthy children 0-5 years of age are most likely to be admitted into hospital. It is very important to vaccinate.
IntraHealth has been commissioned by NHS England to visit every school in Blackburn with Darwen and vaccinate pupils aged 4 to 8 years. Those aged between 2-4 years will be vaccinated at their GP practice.
Consent forms are given to the pupils to take home to their parents but only a third are signed and returned, resulting in poor take-up of the vaccination.
Head teachers and nursery leaders are being urged to get behind the campaign so they can reduce the sickness days for pupils and staff.
NHS Blackburn with Darwen (CCG), which commissions or “buys” local health services, has launched the campaign, which will feature on billboards and bus stops across the borough
It is also being widely promoted at GP surgeries, community and council venues, hospitals and other health settings as well as through our social media channels. It is also being supported by Blackburn with Darwen Council.
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. “
It is aimed at supporting the national winter campaign which will be launched by NHS England in October. Further details can be found @bwdccg #bwdchild flu, www.facebook.com/bwdccg or www.blackburnwithdarwenccg.nhs.uk