Vaccination programme to be delivered in schools
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is to deliver immunisations to children and young people in schools across the North East, in partnership with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.
Specialist nurses from the trusts will deliver the national immunisation programme in more than 600 schools across the region from October.
The national immunisation programme aims to give children the best protection against a range of infections and diseases, helping to ensure that they are protected from infancy, through their teenage years and on to adulthood.
It includes the annual flu vaccination for children in reception and Years 1 to 4, the HPV vaccine for girls aged 12-13 to protect against cervical cancer and the three-in-one teenage booster for diphtheria, tetanus and polio.
Every year, it will involve more than 100,000 children and young people.
The immunisation team will work in partnership with Public Health England, schools and pupil referral units, home-educated children, traveller families, GPs, the 0-19 community services and looked-after children’s teams.
‘Catch up’ clinics will be held for those children who are absent from school when the vaccinations were delivered.
Dr Jonny Cardwell, consultant paediatrician and business unit director for child health at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The national immunisation programme is a vital part of safeguarding the long-term health of our population, ensuring children and young people across the North East are vaccinated against a range of infections and diseases.
“For many years we have delivered this service in Northumberland and North Tyneside and we are delighted that we can use that experience to roll this service out across the region, in partnership with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, to benefit children and young people further afield.
“We fully appreciate that having a vaccination can be a stressful experience for young people, particularly young children, and our teams of specialist nurses are highly-trained in this area to ensure that it is as stress-free as possible.
“Parents and carers of children and young people will be receiving the information about the vaccination from their school over the next few weeks.”
Irene Stables, divisional director – community services at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re delighted that our experienced and committed teams of healthcare professionals will continue to provide this important public health service for children and young people across Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
“Working together with our colleagues in Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, it’s an exciting opportunity for us to maintain and increase immunisation rates across the North East.”
Professor Chris Gray, medical director at NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said: “The single best way to help protect children, and the rest of the family, is to get them vaccinated. Flu especially can be much more dangerous for children than many parents realise, and when children get flu, they tend to spread it around the whole family.
“It’s great news that children in these schools across the North East are to benefit from the care that specialist nurses deliver as part of the national immunisation programme.
“Happy, healthy children are much more likely to achieve their full potential, and where better to start than in school.”