A campaign to encourage more children in the borough to have their flu vaccine has been launched.
Dudley Council and Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) bosses hope the Flu Fighters campaign will increase the number of youngsters who are vaccinated. A colourful storybook – titled 'Flu Fighters Versus Chilly, Achy and Snotty' – has been given to all primary school children across the borough.
It tells the story of three slimy alien invaders from the planet Bogey who come to Earth to “spread disease and make Dudley’s children cough, splutter and sneeze.” Their dastardly plans are thwarted by a watchful nurse who protects our young heroes by giving them the nasal spray and turning them into Flu Fighters.
Flu vaccinations in schools started last week and continue through to December. Nurses from Vaccination UK will visit every primary school in the borough, including pupils at all special schools.
Free copies of the Flu Fighters book, along with information about the vaccine and consent forms, are being given out to all primary-aged children in the borough. Parents are urged to return their consent forms as soon as possible to ensure their child doesn’t miss out.
For the first time, this year, all primary aged children, from Reception to Year 6, are eligible for the free vaccination, delivered via a quick and painless nasal spray. Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
"I’m really pleased that the NHS is offering free flu vaccinations for all the children in our borough. The council is supporting uptake by running the Flu Fighters campaign.
"It is really important for all children to have the vaccination. Not only does it save them from having a nasty illness, but children are known as ‘super spreaders’ of all viruses, and this will help to protect everyone else in the family, including older or more vulnerable members.
"I would urge all parents to return their consent forms as soon as possible so their children can get the harmless, painless vaccination and protect themselves and their families against the flu."
To see when the nurses are scheduled to visit your child’s school, you can check the schedule online. To find out more about the free nasal spray, and to read and download Flu Fighters Versus Chilly, Achy and Snotty, please visit the Dudley Flu Fighters website.
The vaccine is also available to children aged two and three, and children aged 11 and over with some long-term health conditions, through local GPs.
As well as the vaccination for children, people with long-term health conditions, the over 65s, carers and care staff, people in long-stay residential care homes and pregnant women are also eligible for a free vaccination through their GP or pharmacist, while everyone else can get the vaccine from many local pharmacies for a small charge.
The unique marketing campaign, originally developed by Public Health and the CCG in Wolverhampton, was distributed to thousands of pupils via their schools last year. It resulted in an increase in pupils in all age groups receiving the vaccine compared to previous years, ranging from 7.8 per cent to 10 per cent.