During the 2016/17 flu season, the Oxford AHSN Children’s Clinical Network initiated, and then supported, a pilot project in which the nasal influenza vaccine was offered to children attending outpatient clinics at Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH). See news story, February 2017, here.
This report describes how the service was set up and the outcomes that resulted. It also acts as a useful guide for any other hospital paediatric department that is considering a similar service in the future.
As a paediatrician and infection/vaccine specialist, I naturally endorse any initiative that increases the uptake of the children’s influenza vaccine. Perhaps the key message from this project was that, even though the service started relatively late in the season, it was able to vaccinate a number of children in clinical risk groups who would otherwise have been at risk of serious illness had they contracted influenza.
It also served as a method to communicate to parents that the doctors and nurses at MKUH were concerned enough about influenza to offer doses in children’s outpatient clinics. This will have changed perception of the importance of the influenza vaccine in protecting the vulnerable and the community’s responsibility to ensure they are protected.
Funding for the Oxford AHSN Children’s Clinical Network ends from July 2017. If you require further information about this project, please contact the Children’s Matron at MKUH.
Professor Andrew Pollard FRCPCH PhD FMedSci
Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford
Clinical Co-lead, Children’s Clinical Network, Oxford AHSN (to 30 June 2017)