Child Flu Vaccinations To Be Delayed

Child flu vaccination services are likely to be delayed in Northern Ireland, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has warned.

GPs will now prioritise children with underlying health conditions and pre-school children over the age of two as routine testing of the Fluenz Tetra nasal vaccine is delayed.

The public are assured that the delay is not related to the safety or the efficacy of the vaccine, which is procured by Public Health England.

Work is under way to minimise potential disruption to the childhood flu immunisation programme in Northern Ireland caused by this. Children more at risk will be prioritised in line with advice from the UK's Chief Medical Officer.
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Dr Gerry Waldron, Assistant Director of Public Health (Health Protection) at the PHA, said: "We have been exploring how to best use the available stock based on evidence and clinical advice, and taking into account projections on the revised delivery schedule to maximise protection in the community.

"Practices will continue to offer the vaccine to pre-schoolers and children in at risk groups as normal. The school vaccination programme is currently continuing as normal. Pupils at special schools have already received their vaccine.

"However, the disruption to supply may lead to vaccinations in some primary schools being rescheduled, but all eligible children will have an opportunity to receive their vaccine.

"Whilst this situation is unfortunate, it is completely outside our control and we would continue to urge eligible people to get vaccinated, as we know this is the best way to protect against the flu. Parents of at-risk children and pre-schoolers should make themselves aware of their own GP surgery's flu vaccination arrangements."

This issue does not impact on the adult flu vaccination programme, with all eligible adults encouraged to make use of the jab as normal.


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