School flu vaccinations begin

More than 100,000 primary and secondary school children in Oxfordshire will be offered the opportunity to be immunised against influenza this autumn in an expanded health protection campaign.

The programme started on September 22 with the Oxfordshire School-aged Immunisation Team from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust giving quick and painless nasal spray vaccinations to consented pupils from reception classes to year 11.

Schools are contacting parents, guardians and carers to ensure consent is provided. Any consented children who miss out on the day of immunisation at their school, either through sickness or absence, will be able to get their influenza vaccine at catch up clinics.

Around 50,000 children – 73% of reception to year 7 pupils – were immunised last year. The 2021 influenza campaign now includes secondary school children up to year 11. This includes children educated at home and children who attend special schools.

Preschool children over two years old will be offered the immunisation by their GP surgery.

You can find out more information on our vaccinations in non-school places by emailing: flu.schoolnurses@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk.


Ansaf Azhar, Director of Public Health at Oxfordshire County Council said: “The programme offers children and young people a chance to get their flu vaccines quickly and easily, protecting both them and those around them.

“It is also a good opportunity for them to meet their school nurses and health professionals and speak with them about any health-related concerns they may have.”

Fiona Singleton, Manager of the Oxfordshire School-aged Immunisation Team, said: “The flu vaccine provides the best protection against the virus and we are pleased that it has been extended to include all school aged children.

“Children can catch and spread flu easily. Vaccinating not only protects them but also those around them including those who are vulnerable. This is even more important now with Covid still present.”

Top 5 reasons to get your child vaccinated

Flu is an unpleasant and occasionally serious illness which can lead to children spending days in bed rather than being at school and participating in everyday family life. It can have serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Immunising children reduces the spread of flu across the population and helps to protect other household members too.

  1. Protect your child: The vaccine will help protect your child against flu and serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
  2. Protect you, your family and friends: Vaccinating your child will help protect more vulnerable friends and family.
  3. No injection needed: The nasal spray is painless and easy to have.
  4. It’s better than having flu: The nasal spray helps protect against flu, has been given to millions of children worldwide and has an excellent safety record.
  5. Avoid costs: If your child gets flu, you may have to take time off work or arrange alternative childcare.

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