Parents, guardians and carers are being encouraged to vaccinate their children against flu.
NHS East Lancashire CCG and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) are once again targeting families this year in a major drive to protect them from flu.
The vaccination not only protects the child, more importantly it helps stop the spread of the illness especially to those older members of the family such as grandparents. It can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.
Flu is a disease which spreads very rapidly and can be very unpleasant in babies and children - some can develop a very high fever or even serious complications of flu such as bronchitis, pneumonia, middle ear infection, meningitis, encephalitis and very occasionally a child may die from flu.
For children, the NHS use the nasal spray vaccine because it protects them better, for longer, and is easier and more comfortable for children than the injection. The flu virus enters the body through the nose and mouth so the vaccination spray is given through the nose so it mimics the flu virus and results in a better immune response than an injected vaccine.
Dr Chris Gardner, a consultant paediatrician at Royal Blackburn Hospital, said: “Children under five are most likely to be admitted with flu complications and it tends to be the sickest and most vulnerable children who are the hardest hit. By vaccinating your child, you have not only protected them but the more vulnerable ones in school and your local community.”
If your child is aged two or three, please contact your GP to book your appointment and if your child is aged between four and nine, please ensure you sign the consent form which will be sent to you from school. Those with asthma or long term condition should automatically be contacted by GP. For more information about when and how your child will be vaccinated against flu, talk to the GP, practice nurse or your child’s school nurse. Information can also be found online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/