GPs given template letters for expanded flu vaccine programme

Public Health England has issued template letters for GP practices to invite parents to bring their children for flu vaccination, as surgeries gear up for expansion of the national programme to include four-year-olds.

The Fluenz vaccine was offered to two- and three-year-olds for the first time in 2013/14 (Photo: SPL)
The Fluenz vaccine was offered to two- and three-year-olds for the first time in 2013/14 (Photo: SPL)

The template letter is part of a set of new materials for schools and practices that will inform parents about the Fluenz Tetra nasal spray vaccine, which will be offered to healthy four-year-olds for the first time from September.

The letter encourages practices to list dates when parents can bring their children to be vaccinated against flu, adding that these times should be 'preferably ones that allow for people’s working hours and other demands on their time'.

It notes that some four-year-olds starting reception year in primary school pilot areas will be offered their vaccination at school instead of a local surgery. A list of common questions about flu vaccination accompanies the letter.

The new materials form part of an ongoing expansion of the NHS flu vaccination programme that will eventually see all children aged two to 16 offered the vaccine.

Vaccination of healthy two and three-year-olds was introduced in 2013/14. From September, several pilot programmes to vaccinate 11- to 13-year-olds in school years seven and eight will operate around the country.

Research recently found that pilots to vaccinate schoolchildren against flu may have reduced spread of the disease among the wider population and lowered demand for GP consultations.

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