Christ Church Primary children in Ainsworth among first in country to be given nasal spray flu vaccine
THESE youngsters are among the first in the country to receive a new nasal flu vaccine as part of a national pilot scheme.
Christ Church Primary School in Ainsworth led the way when pupils were given the nasal spray, instead of a jab.
The initiative is aimed at primary school children aged four to 11, and Bury Council officials say the scheme could prevent 30 deaths a year.
Bury is one of seven local authorities chosen to test the scheme, and the vaccine is being offered to 18,500 children across the borough from now until January.
The spray is only being issued to children who have received parental consent, with letters and information leaflets being sent out to parents of eligible children.
Children are being given the vaccine as they are the most likely age group to pass on germs to vulnerable people such as young relatives, pregnant mothers, or grandparents.
Christ Church pupil Lauren Hainsworth, aged seven, said: “I was scared before it because I thought it was going to hurt, but it was all right.”
Rachel Cowie, aged seven, said: “It felt a bit tickly and a bit weird having it up my nose, I was a bit nervous before but it was okay.”
Six-year-old Oscar McMullen added: “It was a bit tickly, I would have it done again though if I needed to.”
Sam Messenger, a nurse who has now delivered the vaccine at several Bury schools, said she had received a positive response.
She said: “The children have been really good. I rang a school afterwards to see how they were, and a couple had sniffley noses and a temperature but nothing other than that.” Christ Church headteacher Dave Gerrard said about 70 per cent of parents consented to their children having the vaccine.
A similar programme in Scotland has been delayed after concerns were raised by Muslim parents that the vaccine contained gelatine, which is derived from pork.
However, Bury Council says Islamic and Jewish experts have agreed that pork gelatine is permissible within a vaccine.
The pilot scheme could be rolled out to children aged two to 16 next year, as part of the national seasonal flu programme.
The vaccine, which is called Fluenz, has been used in the USA for more than 10 years and has been declared safe for use.
Children who are in a clinical ‘at risk’ group and those who are aged two or three will also be offered the vaccination by their GP as part of the seasonal flu programme.
For more information: visit nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/child-flu-vaccine.aspx.
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