Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) has been awarded the contract to provide immunisations to primary and secondary school aged children across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
The vaccinations which are routinely given as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme will be delivered in schools by the newly setup Community Immunisation Service.
From September 2015, all children in school years one to six will be offered the nasal flu vaccine at their school to protect against seasonal flu.
Girls aged 12 to 13 years will be offered the HPV vaccine which offers protection against cervical cancer. The first dose of the HPV vaccine will be offered to girls in school year 8 and a second dose will be offered in school year 9.
All young people in school year 9 will be offered the teenage booster which offers continued protection against tetanus, diphtheria and polio (Td/IPV) as well as the meningitis booster. The jabs will be delivered at varied times throughout the academic year.
Nurses from LPT regularly deliver vaccinations in schools and in some GP surgeries. LPT has continuously delivered the HPV vaccination programme in schools since 2008 and over the last two years has successfully vaccinated children as part of the national nasal flu pilot programme.
Previously the teenage booster and meningitis booster vaccinations were provided locally at GP practices. By offering these vaccinations in schools it will make it easier and more convenient for the young people to complete the full programme of these lifesaving immunisations.
Helen Thompson, FYPC Divisional Director at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to have won the contract to continue to deliver the immunisation programme to local children in schools. We have already demonstrated that our uptake rate for the HPV immunisation is higher than the national average and we vaccinated over 58,000 children against flu, using the nasal flu spray last year.
“In year nine, all young people will also be offered the teenage booster which continues the protection they were offered as babies against diphtheria, tetanus and polio. They will also be offered the Meningitis ACWY vaccine, which offers protection against the W strain of the disease. This national change is following the rise in the number of MenW cases reported in the UK in recent years.”
“We look forward to continue working in partnership with schools to protect the health of children, young people and local communities.”
Information packs have been sent to all schools with dates for immunisation sessions, which schools will let parents know about during September. Parents will also be provided with information to read with their children, sign and return to school. Those children who are home educated or not enrolled at school will be invited to attend a community clinic.
During 2014/15 the team engaged with over 400 schools across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Last year the nasal flu vaccine was offered to over 97,500 school aged children, a total of 58,000 were successfully and effectively vaccinated against seasonal flu. The Trust also had the highest uptake of the HPV vaccine in the country.
Helen continued, “These vaccinations provide vital protection against a range of serious infections and diseases.”
Dr Tim Davies, Public Health Consultant for NHS England in Leicestershire, said: “Flu is not just a bad cold. It can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses, such as bronchitis, pneumonia or a painful ear infection, especially in the young and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
“The vaccine is the best possible protection against the flu virus. Not only is the nasal spray needle-free, it also works even better than the injected flu vaccine with fewer side effects.
“All the vaccinations we are delivering this year are quick and relatively painless, and are the most effective way of preventing unwanted illness such as flu and HPV.”
Once again age appropriate information on immunisations will be available at healthforkids.co.uk and healthforteens.co.uk. A video for younger children on flu will be available to watch on the healthforkids.co.uk site which explains all about the nasty symptoms of flu and how they can be a flu hero. A funky but informative video about HPV will be available for young girls on the healthforteens.co.uk to take them through the myths and facts of HPV.
For more information about the NHS childhood vaccination programme, visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations
The Community Immunisation Service also schedules and supports GPs by providing routine childhood immunisations for children and young people under 17 years old. The service may also be called upon to respond in the event of outbreaks in the community.