Many people are unaware that healthy children under the age of five are more likely to have to be admitted to hospital with flu than any other age group. In addition children can spread flu to vulnerable adults especially over the festive period. This is why the children’s flu vaccine is offered as a free yearly nasal spray to young children to help prevent them against flu.
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for children causing a number of problems and this in turn can lead to missed school days.
In areas where primary school age children were given the nasal spray vaccine Public Health England found:
- A&E respiratory attendances were 74% lower
- Hospital admissions due to confirmed influenza were 93% lower
Children aged 2,3 and 4 (reception years) on 1 September 2016 will be offered flu immunisation in GP surgeries. Children in years 1,2 and 3 will be offered immunisation at school. If a child misses the school immunisation it should be noted that they would not routinely be eligible to have this undertaken at their GP practice. When a child in years 1,2 and 3 misses the school immunisation session parents will need to liaise with their GP practice individually.
Vanessa Andreae Vice Chair of Hammersmith and Fulham CCG said:
“It’s really important that children get the flu vaccine and I would strongly encourage all parents and carers to make sure they do. As well as protecting the child from illness they should know that children are the most likely to spread flu across the community. Vaccinating them works towards keeping the community safe.
“The nasal spray is simple and painless, and I urge all parents to take advantage of this free vaccine and protect their child from flu.”