The head of immunisations at the Department of Health (DH) told school nurses it is important that they recognise and understand the value of the “not static” immunisation programme.
Jo Yarwood made her comments in context of their ambition to introduce the childhood flu vaccination programme to all children aged 2-16 by 2015/16.
She urged all school nurses to get themselves vaccinated. “Flu can be very serious and impact on the whole family, so it is important to get protected,” she warned.
In a nod to the much hoped-for increase in school nurse staffing levels to deliver the programme, she admitted that there aren’t currently enough nurses to deliver the vaccination programme, but that this “will bear fruit as time goes on”.
She mentioned seven pilots currently being tested by school nurses. One especially innovative one has allowed a group of children, under supervision, to self-administer the Fluenz vaccine (which is sprayed into the nose). This has, so far, proved highly successful.
However she reminded school nurses need to be vigilant when ordering these expensive vaccine packs. There are 10 vaccines in every pack, she explained, so someone ordering 10 packs, believing they will end up with 10 vaccines, will actually end up with 100 vaccines. More horrifyingly, someone ordering 100 packs of vaccines will end up with 1,000. The potential wastage and cost to the NHS is huge.