Whilst GP practices across Dorset have had to change the way they work due to COVID-19 they are still seeing people face to face and are asking parents to make sure their children receive their immunisations as normal, getting protected against flu as winter approaches.

Making sure your child’s vaccinations are up to date will not just protect them, but it will also help stop them passing harmful viruses to other members of the family and the wider community who could be more at risk, for example grand-parents or people with an existing health condition.

During the coming months the flu vaccine will be available free on the NHS to eligible children including:

  • children aged 2 or 3 on 31 August 2020 – that is, children born between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2018
  • all primary school children
  • all year 7 children (secondary school)
  • children aged 2 to 17 with long-term health conditions

Children who are 4 years old are also eligible for flu vaccination provided they were 3 on 31 August 2020.

The vaccination will be offered either by your GP or in the child’s school.

Dorset HealthCare’s School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) provide all immunisations to school age children across the county, including those home-educated and in special education schools.

Dawn Campbell, Dorset HealthCare’s Service Manager for the SAIS, said: “Being immunised against infectious diseases is a very important part of maintaining health, not just for children but also for the entire population. It’s really important that children get vaccinated against flu as the vaccine is the best way to get protected against the virus. And this year it’s more important than ever with COVID-19 in circulation.”

“Parents, carers and guardians must give consent online for their child to be vaccinated, and they will soon receive a letter through their child’s school with further details.”

Dr Karen Kirkham is a local GP and is Assistant Clinical Chair with NHS Dorset CCG. She said “We recognise that some parents may be feeling anxious about taking their children for appointments, but I would like to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to provide a safe environment where vaccinations can be given.

Despite everything else happening it is important that when parents receive an invitation from their GP that they attend the appointment and that their children’s immunisations are kept up to date.”

For parents who do have concerns there is useful information on the NHS website – www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/vaccination-appointment-tips-for-parents/.

For general information on children’s health for all ages visit www.what0-18.nhs.uk.

To find out more about school age immunisations, the full programme for 2020/21 and how to give consent please visit www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/schoolageimms.