26 September 2018
Secondary school students in Jersey are to be offered the flu vaccine for the first time this year as the annual flu vaccination programme launches.
In previous years, the nasal flu vaccine has been successfully given to nursery aged children and primary school children. This year, students aged up to 16 will have the opportunity to have the nasal vaccine to help keep flu-free as well as younger children.
The annual flu vaccination programme launches on Monday 1 October to protect those at higher risk from flu. Publicly funded flu vaccines will be available to
adults aged 65 and over
people aged 16 to 64 with a serious health condition
all children aged 2 to 16
children aged 6 months to 2 years with a serious health condition.
The flu vaccination programme across Jersey is a joint initiative between Health and Community Services, Social Security, GP surgeries and pharmacists.
This year, another new addition is a more effective ‘adjuvanted’ flu vaccine, which is available for those aged 65 and over. It is expected to significantly boost effectiveness by improving the body’s immune response to the vaccine.
This is important because older adults’ immune systems naturally become weaker as they age, so they need a boosted vaccine to better protect them. A ‘quadrivalent’ flu vaccine is being offered to those aged 16 to 65 with serious health conditions and to pregnant women via GP surgeries and pharmacies. This vaccine injection will provide protection against four strains of flu.
Health and Community Services are also extending the offer of the nasal flu vaccine to include secondary school children up to the age of 16. The nasal vaccine which protects against four strains of flu will be available to children aged 2 to 4 at their nursery or GP surgery free of charge. For children in reception to year 11, the vaccine will be offered free of charge at their school.
Doctor Linda Diggle, Head of Preventive Programmes, said: “We’d urge anyone who is offered the flu vaccine to take up the offer, as we work to vaccinate more people than ever before in order to keep the whole community healthy. For the majority of healthy adults, flu is unpleasant, but they’ll start to feel better within a week.
“However, for some groups of people, particularly those in what we call ‘at-risk’ groups, catching flu can be more serious and can lead to a stay in hospital and severe health complications. Our flu vaccination programme is aimed at preventing flu in those who are particularly vulnerable.
We have better flu vaccines available to us this year and I would urge those who are eligible to make sure they get vaccinated.”