Reminder – Home Ed Kids and the Flu Vaccine (and why it’s more important than ever in 2020)

It’s that time again – the latest flu vaccine is available for children from 2 to 11 years old (or newly 12 year old if they are in Year 7) and all school age children are offered it within school.

But for most home educators, we don’t get that sort of direct reminder. So here is one from us – If you want to have your children vaccinated against the likeliest strains of flu this winter, ring up your GP and book an appointment to get them vaccinated.

In my experience there may be some mild surprise when you book them in, (and a reminder that they will get it at school,) and probably the same surprise when you turn up at the surgery with your school age children. But you are home educating, and your local GP surgery nurse is the closest thing you have to a school nurse. And given that GP surgeries are where 2-3 year olds are getting their flu vaccinations, that is where home educated children can be vaccinated too.

Helpful the NHS webpage about the flu vaccine say specifically that

Children who are home educated will also be offered the vaccine, provided they’re in an eligible age group. – Children’s flu vaccine overview

This year it is more important than ever that children (and adults) get the flu vaccine, as both this season’s flu and COVID-19 will be in circulation.

There are a number of very good reasons to get the flu vaccine in 2020:

  • Being vaccinated for the current flu strains protects your child from the likelihood of getting the flu by 40-60% and reduces the severity of the illness if they do get it.
  • Covid-19 and the flu share many similar symptoms and therefore if your child has those symptoms they will have to isolate and get tested for Covid-19, which put pressure on the testing systems.
  • If you don’t have or spread flu within your community they you won’t be adding pressure to the NHS should Covid-19 cases increase over the winter (as they are expected to do.)
  • While countries in the southern hemisphere had a mild flu season (probably due to lockdown measures that were going on at the same time), there is no guarantee that we will have the same thing happen in the northern hemisphere, since we have experienced a longer period of time between the start of the pandemic and the start of the flu season. We don’t have the same lockdown measures in place, and there is a fair amount of pandemic fatigue which is influencing some people’s actions and decision making.
  • There is evidence that people can be infected with both flu and Covid-19 at the same time, or potentially one after the other, but it is not yet understood how this will effect the severity of the disease. However they both effect the respiratory system and can lead to serious medical complications.

You can read more from the sources of the information I used to compile the list above. These articles were recommended to me by Dr Kim Roberts, Assistant Professor of Virology at Trinity College Dublin. – Winter flu vaccine campaign gears up to prevent ‘dual outbreaks’ of influenza and Covid-19

CNN – This might be your most important flu shot ever

BBC – Coronavirus: How bad will winter really be?

The Conversation – Coronavirus pandemic: why a flu jab is a good idea in countries heading into winter

(PS. Any anti-vaccination comments will be deleted on any or all of our social media accounts. This is not an invitation to debate. HomeEdVoices supports autistic people and the people who love them, and anyone with compromised immunity.)

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