Free Flu Vaccine – Children aged 2-3
Parents and guardians of young children are being reminded that children aged 2 and 3 years of age are entitled to a free flu vaccine this winter. Last winter a total of 70,998 young children had the vaccine across the North West.
People sometimes think a bad cold is flu, but having flu can often be much worse than a cold, 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. Children can spread flu to friends and family too – so the best protection is vaccination.
Michelle Wright, is Children’s Community Matron at Alder Hey NHS Foundation Trust:
“This year more than ever it’s important to ensure you take up the offer of the flu vaccine for your child. Not only will it help protect them but also the rest of your family and friends will be provided with some protection from flu too as your child will be less likely to transmit flu to them, as children are the biggest transmitters of flu. This is particularly important for babies and grandparents who may be at higher risk from flu. Remember flu can be really serious, especially for children with medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes so make sure they are protected.”
Children aged 2 and 3 years old are offered the Fluenz vaccine, which is given as a nasal spray. Parents and guardians will be contacted by their GP practice and invited to attend a vaccination clinic. In light of the levels of COVID-19 circulating, extra precautions have been put in place to reduce the chance of virus spreading. Healthcare staff 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.
• Flu can be horrible for young children and they can easily pass it on to those around them who could be vulnerable – even if they don’t show any symptoms. The free flu nasal spray is easier to give to children that the injection, is the best way to protect your child and can prevent the spread of the virus.
• Children who get flu have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat.
• Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu such as bronchitis or pneumonia and may need hospital treatment. Call NHS 111 if you are worried about your child’s symptoms.
• Vaccinating children can protect both them and those around them who are at high risk of serious complications if they get flu.
• Ask your GP about your child’s free flu nasal spray.
For more information about the flu and the vaccination programme go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/