The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) School Nursing Team are gearing up to roll out this year’s Flu Vaccination Programme for local school children.

There are many vaccine preventable infectious diseases that can make children seriously unwell, or may be life-threatening in childhood; such as measles or meningococcal infection. In Northern Ireland, the Public Health Agency (PHA’s) routine childhood vaccination programme covers sixteen important infectious diseases, and saves millions of lives per year. As high rates of uptake of a vaccine are essential to stopping the spread of one of these infectious diseases, we need to ensure children attend appointments for vaccines, if they are offered. If we stopped vaccinating, these diseases would start coming back into our communities, and we could see outbreaks of diseases that can be fatal to children.

Irene McSorley, Team Leader for School Nursing at the Western Trust explains: “Our School Nursing Team will be rolling out this year’s flu vaccination programme to primary school children (Year 1 to 7) and post primary school children (Year 8) across the Western Trust area over the coming months. This is the best protection against Influenza. It is vitally important that parents and guardians protect their children from other potential risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, including influenza by completing and returning their child(rens) consent form(s) to their school as soon as possible. The flu vaccination won’t protect against COVID-19 but it is critical to protecting the general health of the population, particularly those at high risk from COVID-19. The School Nursing Team will be taking all the necessary Infection control measures including the wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to ensure the safety of pupils and staff.”

For further information please visit the Western Trust website www.westerntrust.hscni.net or PHA website www.publichealth.hscni.net/publications