Respiratory illnesses more commonly affect people with a learning disability. This is why since 2014 children and adults with a learning disability have been included in the list of “at risk” groups that are covered by the flu vaccination programme. Family carers and Personal Assistants (PAs) are also eligible for a flu jab.
Who is eligible for a flu jab?
- All children who were between 2 and 9 years old on 31 August 2018. Vaccinations for pre-school children are delivered by their GP. Children in Reception to Y5 (but not normally in Y6) receive theirs in school. Parents must be asked to fill in a consent form.
- Anyone aged between six months and 64 years who is in a clinical risk group. This includes people with illnesses such as asthma and heart disease and people with a learning disability.
- Carers. This includes family members who are carers and Personal Assistants (PAs). Carers need to get their flu jab from their own GP – but they will only be invited if the GP has them coded as a “carer” or “needs flu vaccine”.
- Pregnant women
- Anyone aged 65 years and over
- People in long-stay residential care homes
- Vaccination is also recommended for frontline health and social care workers and staff in special schools.
Could I get several family members vaccinated at the same time?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. This year, there are three different types of vaccines to be used in the flu programme, depending on the age of the person. These will arrive at GP surgeries in small batches at different times in the autumn. Please be patient with your GP as they try to deliver what is now a very complicated programme.
Who gets the nasal vaccine and who gets an injection?
The nasal vaccine is normally given to children and young people aged between 2 and 18 years. There are some people who are unable to have the nasal spray, including those with severe asthma or a heavy cold. Your GP or nurse will be able to advise you.
The injection is for babies under the age of 2 years and adults aged 18 years and over who are in one of the clinical risk groups. However, if an adult with a learning disability is not able to have the vaccine due to a fear of injections, then a nasal vaccine can be given. This needs to be specifically prescribed under a Patient Specific Direction. You should ask your GP or nurse in advance, in order for them to organise this before the appointment.
What if my child is accidentally vaccinated twice?
We know that some of our secondary special schools also offer vaccinations for their students. You should be asked to sign a consent form before your child is given the vaccine. However, don’t be alarmed if for some reason this does not happen and your child ends up being vaccinated both at school and by their GP. There is no increased risk of side effects in an otherwise healthy child.
Make sure that your child and those caring for them are covered this year!