PARENTS and carers are being urged to do their bit to ensure children in the district receive their flu vaccinations as soon as possible.

Those with children at primary schools or in year seven at secondaries are being encouraged to return consent forms without delay.

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s schools immunisation team is currently carrying out vaccinations across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale, Craven and Wakefield. It has already vaccinated over 6,000 children.

Last year, the team administered the nasal flu spray – a spray of vaccine squirted up each nostril – to over 26,000 children in 173 primary schools. This year the team will also be visiting 54 upper schools.

Immunisation operational lead, Saiqa Kauser, said: “It’s a really busy time but we’re glad to be able to protect children in our communities against flu, which is much more than a bad cold – it’s a serious illness which kills around 11,000 people each year and hospitalises thousands more.

“Children can easily pass the illness on to those around them who could be vulnerable – even if they don’t show any symptoms – so it’s important to make sure they have their flu vaccination.

“Flu can be horrible for children. They can have the same symptoms as adults – fever, chills, aching muscles, a headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat – and if a child has a long-term condition like diabetes or asthma, flu can potentially bring serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.”

She said the nasal flu spray was the most effective way of protecting a child and those around them from the illness and with the NHS having Covid-19 to deal with this year on top of the usual winter pressures, it was particularly important for children to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

She added: “Although the vaccine can’t stop all flu viruses, if a child does get flu after vaccination it is likely to be milder and they will recover more quickly.

“The nasal flu spray is the recommended vaccine for all eligible children in primary schools, from reception through years one to six – as well as year seven in upper schools from this year. Parents simply need to complete and send back the consent form to school so their child can receive the free vaccine.”

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