More than half of all primary school children in Jersey have been vaccinated against the flu.
Nurses are in secondary schools this week and aim to complete all school vaccinations by 19th November.
60% of primary school pupils have received the protection so far. Three catch-up clinics are available, so that figure’s likely to rise.
Dr Linda Diggle says she’s ‘dismayed’ by myths and misinformation about the nasal spray being shared on social media.
She’s happy with the take-up so far, but fears online speculation could be preventing some parents from having their child protected.
“We’d like all children to be protected against flu, but it is parental choice. The figure of 60% is good. Last year in primary schools as a whole, 59% of parents took that up.
“It’s great to have so many children protected.”
More people have had the flu vaccine in pharmacies this month, than in the whole of last season.
3,643 have already gone to their chemist to get protected.
More supplies of the jab have just been delivered and further batches are expected in November.
Addressing concerns in the UK about a shortage, Dr Diggle says deliveries to the island are being staggered.
“We know that has meant that some people haven’t been able to get the vaccine as quickly as they wanted.
“There is plenty of supply, there is plenty of more supply coming in and we’re confident that those aged 65 and over will get protected before the winter and that there’ll be plenty of vaccines to protect them.”
The Health Department wants those in vulnerable groups to get protected, particularly people of working age with an underlying medical condition.
That includes anyone with:
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma (which requires an inhaled or tablet steroid treatment, or has led to hospital admission in the past), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis (MS)
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medication such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (BMI of 40 or above)
Any parents who want their school-age child to have the flu vaccine can take their child to a catch-up clinic. Timings are available by calling 01534 443741.