Healthy children in school years reception to Year 7 will be offered the nasal flu vaccination in every school in the borough of Rochdale. The vaccine is a simple nasal spray and does not involve a needle.
Parents must sign a consent form to say yes or no to the vaccination. The form is being sent out to all parents from their child's school.
The council's public health team hope to see the number of children vaccinated against flu to be higher than ever this year. Flu symptoms can be similar to coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms so the flu vaccine will help to reduce confusion for families and schools.
Last winter 40% of children eligible for the free vaccination did not get protected, with 28% of all parents not returning their child's form. Each school has a vaccination date and only children who have returned their consent forms will be allowed the vaccination.
Councillor Sara Rowbotham, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "After the disruption that coronavirus caused to children's education, the flu vaccine is going to be more vital than ever to ensure the virus doesn't spread through our school and homes.
"It's important we keep our children and our teachers well and in school so please return your child's consent forms so we can keep our borough healthy."
Dr Aggy York, local GP and clinical lead for primary care at NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group said: "Our focus in 2020 has been COVID-19 but we need to remember that flu can be a very serious illness in its own right especially to our most vulnerable children and adults.
"Children spread flu very easily to others and this is often the likely source of infection in at risk adults. It is therefore important that we vaccinate the eligible children to limit this spread as this will have an impact on the number of people becoming very unwell or even dying this winter from complications of the illness."
Children with long term health conditions, and children aged 2 and 3, will be offered the vaccination at their doctor's surgery. At-risk adults including those over 65 years old and pregnant women will also be contacted by their surgery to arrange their vaccination.
- If you would like more information or to speak to someone about the school flu programme please contact the free flu line on 0333 358 3397.