The primary schools-based flu vaccination programme is once again underway in Dorset amid cases being reported in the region.

This follows a temporary pause in the ordering of the nasal vaccine, which was caused by delays from the manufacturer, Public Health England (PHE) says.

Primary school clinics will be rescheduled as soon as possible and children in high risk groups should visit their GP if their school session has been delayed, to ensure that they are protected early. GPs have now been advised to call in all eligible children for vaccination by early December.

Dr Jon Roberts, PHE Screening and Immunisation South West, said: “We are now starting to see cases of flu affecting schools, care homes and hospitals. The best defence is the flu vaccine. If you are in an eligible group, visit your GP or pharmacist as soon possible to ensure you are protected.”

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England national medical director, said: “Flu can be extremely serious and even kill in some cases and getting vaccinated is the best protection against it. NHS services continue to work hard to prepare for the winter season, including staff getting their free flu jab, and now we’re appealing to the public to ‘Help Us, Help You’ by ensuring that they and their eligible children or relatives get vaccinated, now.”

Medical experts say influenza can be a very unpleasant illness, and while it is not a serious illness for most people, for those in at-risk groups, such as young children, elderly people, those with long-term conditions and pregnant women, flu has the potential to trigger life-threatening complications.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We strongly urge all patients in at-risk groups to get vaccinated and for parents to ensure their young children receive their vaccine as soon as possible.”

PHE is working with NHS England and Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that all eligible children receive their flu vaccination as soon as possible.

The adult flu programme has continued as normal and PHE is reminding all those aged 65 and over, pregnant women and all children and adults with underlying medical conditions to visit their GP or pharmacist to get their flu vaccine.