Parents and carers reminded to protect 2 and 3-year-olds against flu
Thousands of children across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, aged 2 and 3, have been protected against flu by having their annual vaccination.
However, there is still time for others to be vaccinated with the NHS now urging parents and carers of 2 or 3-year-old pre-school children, who haven’t yet been vaccinated, to make an appointment with their GP practice.
Nationally, reminder texts, letters and emails have been sent out to parents and guardians.
Flu symptoms can appear very quickly and include a sudden high temperature of 38C or above, an aching body, feeling exhausted, sore throat and runny nose and loss of appetite. Children may also become less active and get ear pain.
NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group Chair and GP, Dr Sarah Whiteman said: “I want to encourage you to get your children vaccinated because the flu is a very common childhood illness and can be really unpleasant for them.
“The vaccine is a nasal spray – a single spray up each nostril – it’s quick, it’s painless and it’s really easy.
“People think ‘it’s just flu’ but unfortunately it can lead to complications and even hospitalisation, which is why it’s important to have the vaccination.”
The nasal spray flu vaccine is free on the NHS for:
- children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2021 – born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2019
- all primary school children (reception to year 6)
- all year 7 to year 11 children in secondary school
- children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions
Three-year-old year George was vaccinated in November, his mother Zoë said: “It’s really important that my son gets the flu jab each year as I don’t want him to become unnecessarily unwell.
“I also know that children can be super spreaders, and the last thing I would like would be for my parents to become unwell because I did not take up the opportunity to vaccinate my child.”
Even if your child had a flu vaccination last flu season (up to March 2021), the type of flu can vary each winter, so it is recommended that they have the flu vaccine each year to boost their immunity.
The nasal spray is safe and effective and offers the best protection for children aged 2 to 17 years. In some instances, the flu vaccine injection can be offered if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable. However, please speak to your child’s nurse or doctor if they are aged 2 or 3, and your schools’ immunisations team if your child is in primary to Year 11 at school. Parents and carers of home-schooled children should contact their local community clinic.