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Public Health Consultant urges parents in Kent and Medway to get their children vaccinated against flu

This year, for the first time, all Primary school aged children, as well as two and three year olds, are offered the nasal spray from the NHS.

  • Call for parents in Kent and Medway to ensure two and three year olds and Primary school aged children are vaccinated against flu
  • Target is to vaccinate at least 50% of two and three year olds
  • Last year, uptake in Kent and Medway was 39.1% for two year olds and 43.4% for three year olds.

With nursery and school terms well under way, parents and guardians are urged to ensure their children are vaccinated against flu.

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.

If your child’s primary school 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.

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 of all ages with some health conditions that puts them at greater risk of flu are also eligible for the vaccine. 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.

Vist the Kent Community Health team website for further information.