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Main picture: The former Covid testing facility in Margam will be used for drive-through flu vaccinations for children who missed their school session.
Catch-up flu vaccinations for children and young people are being offered at a new drive-through delivered by the school nursing service.
It’s believed to be the first of its kind in Wales.
It means hundreds of pupils from across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, who missed their in-school vaccination due to illness, will be protected for the winter.
The former Covid testing facility at Longlands Lane Playing Fields in Margam is being pressed into use for the drop-in service during weekends throughout November.
These drop-in sessions will be in addition to those organised at all primary and secondary schools.
Parents and carers are urged not to use the drive-through if their child is due their Fluenz nasal spray vaccination in school in the coming weeks. It has been designed for catch-up vaccinations.
Vaccinations will be available between 10am and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, starting this Saturday, November 6th, for pupils who have missed their school session. No appointment needed.
No Covid vaccinations will be available on site.
“There are so many coughs, colds and other bugs going around, as well as Covid, that around 800 pupils missed their flu nasal spray vaccination in the first three weeks of our schools’ programme,” said Victoria Kiernan, Lead Nurse School Health Nursing and Looked After Children Nursing Services.
Credit: Victoria Kiernan
“And with it being a bigger task this year – we are vaccinating not just primary school children but also up to year 11 in high school – we needed to act fast to make sure we reached as many as possible.”
School nurses were drafted in to carry out testing at the start of the pandemic and Victoria, who managed the original site in Longlands Lane, knew it’d be perfect for this latest challenge.
With 800 absentees recorded before half term, the team set up the facility for its new role within 24 hours.
A pilot scheme at the site saw 120 youngsters vaccinated during half term.
“We have to vaccinate around 62,000 pupils in schools across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot by Christmas,” said Victoria.
“While some of those who were off sick when we visited are able to get their vaccine from their GP surgery, this isn’t always possible due to the pressure being faced by primary care.
“This is a great way of reaching those youngsters which is also convenient for parents and carers.
“The primary, community and therapies service group are committed to maximising every opportunity to improve health.
“Recent challenges have proved it’s essential we deliver services in a flexible, innovative and accessible way.”