Make sure your child gets the free flu vaccine this year!

NHS #DO YOUR BIT the last thing Ellie needs is flu. Protect your child with the free flu vaccine. #GET THE FLU VACCINEMedical professionals in north Cumbria are reminding parents that it’s never been more important for your child to get the free flu vaccine. If your child has missed their flu vaccination in school you can now book in for one of our catch-up clinics.

The vaccine is our best protection against flu and it’s incredibly easy for our children to get - you just need to look out for information that gets sent from their school asking you to give consent, and then they’ll be given their free flu nasal spray. More children than ever are eligible for the vaccine this year.

There's more information below about how to book into one of our flu vaccine catch-up clinics.

The NHS is also rolling out the Covid jab to school children aged 12 to 15. As with the flu vaccine, consent letters have been sent out to parents and guardians with information on the Covid vaccination. Almost three million children across Britain in this age group are eligible for one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Jabs have started in schools across the country. If your child has missed getting the Covid vaccine at school, they will soon be able to book through the national booking system too; you’ll just need to visit nhs.uk/covidvaccine. At this stage we would urge families to wait until their child’s school has been visited by the Covid vaccination team before booking through the NHS.

Distington GP Dr Helen Horton said: "As a parent with children in school I can completely appreciate how challenging the last 18 months have been with the disruption of Covid, and none of us want to see our kids missing any more valuable time in their classes.

"This winter we have the added concern of flu – it’s a nasty illness and it’s the last thing we want on top of everything else!

"We had low infection rates of flu last year following everyone’s response to Covid, and this means many of our children won’t have been exposed or built up the immunity that they usually would have, and so we may see more cases of flu this winter."

Olaniyi Kehinde, Consultant Paediatrician at NCIC, said: "Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness. This can last several days or more.

"Some children can get a very high fever, sometimes without the usual flu symptoms, and may need to go to hospital for treatment. Serious complications of flu include a painful ear infection, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia.

"Having the vaccine will help protect your child from what can be a very nasty illness in children. It will reduce the chance of others in your family, who could be at greater risk from flu, such as grandparents or those with long-term health conditions, getting flu from your child."

With Covid still circulating it means we have to be extra careful - if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time you are much more likely to be seriously ill.

For children, flu vaccination is needle-free. It’s given as a nasal spray and is just a single squirt up each nostril; it’s quick, painless and more effective in children than an injectable vaccine.

If you have a child aged 2-3 years old you can protect them too. You just need to wait for your GP practice to get in touch, and then book an appointment for your child to get their free flu nasal spray vaccine too. It’s also free for children and young people who have a medical condition from the age of six months.

It’s completely safe. The vaccine works by boosting antibodies and helping the body to fight off the virus.

The catch-up flu vaccination clinics are accessed by appointment only, so please call to book for one of the clinics:

  • Call 01228 608046 for Penrith, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen, Brampton or Carlisle.
  • Call 01900 705871 or 01900 705867 for Workington, Egremont, Whitehaven and Wigton
  • Call 01229 409604 for Kendal and Barrow

There is an answerphone in operation so if we are unable to speak to you, please leave your name and contact number and we will be back in touch as soon as possible.

The dates of the flu vaccination clinics are as follows:

Penrith flu vaccination clinic

  • Wednesday 10 November at 3:30pm to 5:30pm (Penrith Hospital)
  • Saturday 11 December at 9:30am to 12 noon (Penrith Hospital)

Appleby flu vaccination clinic

Saturday 13 November at 9:30am to 10:30am (Appleby Cricket Club)

Kirkby Stephen flu vaccination clinic

Saturday 13 November at 11am to 12 noon (Kirkby Stephen Primary School Foyer)

Carlisle flu vaccination clinic

  • Saturday 13 November at 9:30am to 12 noon (venue TBC)
  • Wednesday 17 November at 9:30am to 12 noon (Harraby Community Centre)
  • Saturday 11 December at 9:30am to 12 noon (Morton Community Centre)

Workington flu vaccination clinic

  • Thursday 2 December at 12 noon to 4pm (Workington Community Hospital – Bladder and Bowel room)
  • Thursday 6 January 2022 at 12 noon to 4pm (Workington Community Hospital – Bladder and Bowel room)

Egremont flu vaccination clinic

Saturday 13 November at 9:30am to 12:30pm (Egremont RUFC)

Whitehaven flu vaccination clinic

Saturday 20 November at 9:30am (Whitehaven Cricket Club)

Wigton flu vaccination clinic

Saturday 11 December at 10am (Wigton Children’s Centre)

Kendal flu vaccination clinic

  • Wednesday 1 December at 4pm to 6.30pm (Blackhall unit-Westmorland General hospital)
  • Wednesday 8 December at 4pm to 6.30pm (Blackhall unit-Westmorland General hospital)
  • Wednesday 1 December at 4pm to 6.30pm (Blackhall unit-Westmorland General hospital)

Barrow flu vaccination clinic

  • Tuesday 30 November at 4pm to 6.30pm (Furness General hospital)
  • Thursday 9 December at 4pm to 6.30pm (Furness General hospital)
  • Monday 13 December at 4pm to 6.30pm (Furness General hospital)

Please look out for information from your child’s school if you haven’t received it already. It will ask you to give consent for them to be vaccinated, please make sure you complete and return the form as soon as possible. That way we can all do our bit to stay safe this winter!

ENDS