Published: 16:13, 08 December 2020
| Updated: 16:23, 08 December 2020
Thousands of children across Kent and Medway will be given nasal spray flu vaccines at mass vaccination clinics between now and Christmas, as the county's foundation trust ramps up protections against the winter illness.
The Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT), who provide the vaccine to schools, believe many children missed out on the initial round of vaccinations because of bubbles and schools being forced to isolate throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The foundation trust hope to stem the gap by running extra weekend and evening clinics running up to Christmas to vaccinate children between the ages of four and 11 who missed out earlier in the year.
Laura Jones, Clinical Immunisation Manager at KCHFT, said: "We think around 51,000 children in Kent and Medway have missed their vaccination either because the year group or bubble had been isolating on the day we came in, or parents did not provide online consent in time for the session.
"It’s vital that we complete as much of the school-age vaccination programme as possible before Christmas.
"By offering Saturday and after-school clinics, we can reach thousands of children who otherwise would not get the protection they need for themselves and their families at Christmas."
During a normal winter period the flu vaccination programme for school children would run from October through to February.
But this year the NHS intends to have all school-based clinics completed by Christmas time.
So far KCHFT teams have visited 487 schools throughout Kent and Medway, vaccinating around 73,000 from seasonal flu.
Strood Academy will be hosting a huge catch-up clinic on Saturday, December 12.
During this time the team are aiming to vaccinate around 340 children in just six hours.