Following a collaboration with the Oxford AHSN Children’s Clinical Network, Milton Keynes University Hospital has become one of only two NHS Trusts in England to offer the nasal flu vaccine to children attending outpatient appointments.
The initiative, which has been running since early January 2017, aims to increase flu immunisation rates in 2-4 year olds and children in clinical risk groups by offering the vaccine to those attending outpatient clinics.
The service has had the greatest impact with children in clinical risk groups. Nearly 50 children had been vaccinated by the end of January, the majority of whom were within clinical risk groups. Flu could cause serious illness or even death for these children.
The flu vaccine service has also immunised younger children who have not yet been vaccinated by their GPs. Vaccinating children also helps to reduce transmission of the infection.
Joe Harrison, Chief Executive of Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Until now, hospital doctors have had to advise children and parents to obtain the flu vaccine from their GP. Understandably, some busy parents don’t always follow up on this advice. We hope that by making it much easier to get the vaccine while in hospital we will see a significant improvement in uptake rates. This will help to prevent the spread of flu in children, their families and the wider community.
“This initiative has been made possible by our work with the Oxford AHSN Children’s Network.”
An appraisal of the initiative will be carried out by the Children’s Network in February 2017.
The Network has included the project in its submission to NICE following a request for examples of interventions designed to improve vaccine uptake. The Network is also presenting to a NICE flu workshop in March 2017. New NICE guidance on flu prevention is expected later this year.