The information that follows was shared at our 10 November Zoom event, 'Increasing the uptake of the flu vaccination for young children and pregnant women from BME communities', which we hosted together with Manor Gardens Welfare Trust. We also took questions from the community, which were answered by specialists from public health and the local NHS.
It's very important to return flu consent forms to your child's school
At the meeting we learned that some parents in Islington are not returning flu consent forms for their children.
- If you would like your child (and by extension the rest of your family) to get protection from the flu virus this winter but you don't return the consent form, they won't be able to receive the vaccine.
- if you don't want your child to have the vaccine because you object to the porcine gelatine in the nasal spray but you don't return the consent form to let the school know, your child won't get offered the alternative (an injection that doesn't contain gelatine)
- What should I do if my child misses school on the vaccination day(s)?
Contact the school nurse who will refer your child to Vaccination UK for a catch up clinic. Or you can contact Vaccination UK directly: Vaccination UK t:020 8017 7925 e:Haringeyandislington@vaccinationuk.co.uk
- There are some rumors that the flu vaccine causes epilepsy in young children. Are there any cases around the country?
No, there are no cases and there is no evidence that the flu vaccine causes epilepsy.
The facts about the pork content of flu vaccines
The most effective vaccine for children is a nasal spray and not the injection that is given to adults. The nasal spray is called Fluenz and contains a highly processed form of pork gelatine, which is used in a range of many essential medicines.
Very sensitive scientific tests have shown that no DNA from pigs can be detected in the nasal vaccine. These tests show that the gelatine is broken down so much that the original source cannot be identified.
Most Imams and Rabbis generally support vaccinations irrespective of the ingredients, because preservation of life is seen as more important.
The Muslim Council of Britain is running a campaign to inform the Muslim community so they have the right answers and know where to go for more information. Their materials can be accessed here https://mcb.org.uk/resources/opvac/
The flu vaccine for adults does not contain pork gelatine.
The alternative to the nasal spray for children does not contain pork gelatine.
Further reading and information in other languages:
Vaccinations for pregnant women
- This vaccination is not just for the protection of the mother but also for the baby.
- No live vaccinations are given to pregnant women.
- Pregnant women, especially later stage and unborn babies are at high risk of complications from the flu virus. The vaccination also gives the baby some protection in first few months of life, when it would be too early to vaccinate the baby.
More information about the flu and flu vaccinations
The North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group website has a lot of useful information, including videos and resources in other community languages.