Flu immunisation for children in Kent and Medway aged two to 10

Health bosses are urging parents to make sure they get their children protected against flu after delays because of shortages of the vaccine.

The flu nasal spray is available this year to two-and three-year-olds and to primary school pupils aged four to 10 as well.

Children are described as 'super spreaders'
Children are described as 'super spreaders'

The target is for 50% of children to be vaccinated but last year uptake in Kent and Medway was 39.1% for two-year-olds and 43.4% for three-year-olds.

The primary schools-based flu vaccination programme is once again underway. This follows a temporary pause in the ordering of the nasal vaccine, which was caused by delays from the manufacturer.

Parents and guardians are now being urged to ensure their children are vaccinated. The same plea has been made by health bosses to pregnant women.

If your child’s primary school flu programme has been cancelled, it will be rescheduled. Children with existing health conditions like asthma or diabetes, should visit their GP if their school session has been delayed, to ensure that they are protected early.

Protection for children is offered in the form of a nasal spray which health workers say takes seconds
Protection for children is offered in the form of a nasal spray which health workers say takes seconds

Dr John Rodriguez, public health consultant for Kent and Medway, said: “We know that many parents are great at taking up the offer of a flu vaccine for their children, but this year in Kent and Medway we want to do better. If all eligible children are vaccinated this could significantly reduce the number of people getting flu in the wider community.

“The flu season is already under way and it is a serious illness that can be deadly for the most vulnerable. Children are ‘super spreaders’, and the vaccination not only protects children, but also more vulnerable members of the community such as the elderly or those with health conditions, from a potentially horrible illness.

“This year, all two- and three-year-olds and every primary school aged child will be offered a flu vaccine. So, please fill in the consent form for your primary school-aged children or contact your GP surgery if you have a two or three-year-old or a child with a health condition.”

Children aged two and three receive the vaccine at their GP surgery. The child-friendly nasal spray delivers a simple squirt into each nostril, making administration to this age group quick and easy.

Dr Rodriguez added: “Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children causing fever, a stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness. This can often last several days. Some children can get a very high fever, sometimes without the usual flu symptoms, and may need to go to hospital for treatment.”

It is important children are vaccinated each year. The flu vaccine provides protection against the strains of flu that are likely to circulate this year, and which may be different from last year.

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© KM Group Sunday, Dec 08 2019