NHS England and NHS Improvement – South East Region has released this reassurance for schools that are scheduled to be immunised against flu later in the Autumn term.
For several years, NHS healthcare teams have been providing flu vaccinations to children in special- and primary schools. This year, the programme has been extended to include Year 7 pupils in secondary schools. Because of the large number of schools, some vaccination sessions will be scheduled later in the autumn term.
Peak influenza activity generally occurs in January or February, and it takes 10 to 14 days following vaccination, before an immune response and protection develops. Therefore, NHS England has specified that the school immunisation teams will complete the flu vaccination by 16th December for all eligible children, before the flu season reaches its peak. The school immunisation teams are ensuring that sufficient immunisation clinics will be available so that children can receive vaccinations on time.
For children who are at risk because they have an underlying health condition, it is very important that they get the flu vaccine for their own protection. These children are also eligible to receive vaccination in general practice if the school session is late in the season, parents prefer it, or they missed the session at school.