The award-winning Flu Fighters campaign is returning for the third time – with a mission to encourage even more children to get their free flu vaccine this autumn. The campaign – devised by the City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group and the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust – has helped bring about a huge increase in the number of children getting the free nasal spray since its launch in 2018.
Over the last two years, the percentage of eligible children having their vaccine has leapt from 54.6% to 67.5%, putting the city above both the regional and national average for the very first time.
And the huge success of the campaign was recognised when it scooped the hotly contested Best Creative Comms category at the 2019 comms2point0 UnAwards. Judges said: "This entry won our hearts with not only its creative approach to increasing uptake but also the impressive delivery of the messaging, with the results speaking for themselves.”
The Flu Fighters will be returning to the city's primary and junior schools in the coming weeks in a third colourful storybook, Flu Fighters in Close Encounters of the Germed Kind.
Free copies of the book will be distributed to all infant, junior and primary school pupils through schools by Vaccination UK, along with parental consent forms and information about the flu vaccine. The vaccine is delivered via a safe, quick and painless nasal spray and parents are urged to sign and return their consent forms as soon as possible to ensure their child doesn't miss out.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "The impact of the Flu Fighters cannot be underestimated, helping achieve the best uptake of the flu vaccine among local children for many years.
“We are therefore delighted to be bringing the Flu Fighters back for a third exciting adventure and we hope to see a further increase in the number of children receiving their free vaccine this autumn.”
Dr Salma Reehana, Chair of Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "The importance of the flu vaccine in protecting our children from the effects of severe flu cannot be underestimated. Children are what we call super spreaders, so it is important that we vaccinate them to safeguard not only them but also the more vulnerable members of our community.
"The Flu Fighters campaign has really helped raise awareness amongst children and parents, leading to a much improved uptake. I would urge all parents to ensure that their children are appropriately protected by enabling them to have the vaccine – because it is better to be safe than sorry."
This year, all children from Reception to Year 7, and all children in special schools, will be offered the free flu vaccination in school. Free vaccinations are also available to children aged two and three, and children with some long-term health conditions, through their GP.
As well vaccinations for children, people with long-term health conditions, people who were shielding from coronavirus and their families, the over 65s, carers and care staff, people in long-stay care and pregnant women are also eligible for a free vaccine through their GP or pharmacist.