Parents and guardians of young children in Morecambe Bay are being reminded that children aged 2 and 3 years of age are entitled to a free flu vaccine this winter.
Children can easily pass flu on to those around them who could be vulnerable – even if they don’t show any symptoms. The free flu vaccine for children is given as a nasal spray as it’s easier to administer than the injection. It’s the best way to protect your child and can prevent the spread of the virus.
Dr Lauren Dixon, GP Executive Lead for Integrated Care at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Children up to the age of 11 are being offered a free flu vaccination, however the uptake of children aged 2 – 3 years old having the vaccination is lower than the national average so we’d like to remind parents about the importance of having their child vaccinated.
“Due to COVID-19 it is more crucial than ever to ensure you take up the offer of the flu vaccine for your child as it not only helps protect them but also anyone they come into contact with as children are the biggest transmitters of flu.
“Children who get flu have the same symptoms as adults, which includes fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat. Some children can even develop a very high fever or complications of flu such as bronchitis or pneumonia and may need hospital treatment, so getting them vaccinated is the best way to protect them.”
Parents and guardians will be contacted by their GP practice and invited to attend a vaccination clinic. If for some reason the child can’t have the nasal spray, they will be offered an alternative flu vaccination by injection
Julie Kelly, Head of Public Health for NHS England-Improvement said: “People sometimes think a bad cold is flu, but in reality having flu can often be much worse, especially for young children. It can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.”
In light of the levels of COVID-19 circulating, extra precautions have been put in place to reduce the chance of the virus spreading.
Healthcare staff at flu vaccination clinics will be wearing face coverings and you’ll be asked to wear one too, when you take your child for their appointment. There may be different arrangements while you’re waiting to have the vaccine and you may have it in a different place to normal. These changes are happening to make sure it is safe for you to attend.
For more information about the flu and the vaccination programme go to: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/
If you think your child has the flu virus and you’re worried about their symptoms, call NHS 111.