‘It’s more important than ever to have your child vaccinated against flu’

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Parents in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have been reminded that children aged two and three are entitled to a free flu vaccine this winter.

Parents and guardians will be contacted by their GP practice and invited to attend a vaccination clinic.  Two and three-year-old children are being offered a free flu vaccine, which is given as a nasal spray.

Dr Ben Butler-Reid, Blackpool GP and clinical director for the Fylde Coast CCGs, said it is important to vaccinate children as they can spread flu to friends and family.

He said: “This year more than ever it’s important to ensure you take up the offer of the flu vaccine for your child.

“Not only will it help protect them but also the rest of your family and friends will be provided with some protection from flu too as your child will be less likely to transmit flu to them, as children are the biggest transmitters of flu. This is particularly important for babies and grandparents who may be at higher risk from flu.

“Remember, flu can be really serious, especially for children with medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes so make sure they are protected.”

Julie Kelly, head of Public Health for NHS England-Improvement, said: “People sometimes think a bad cold is flu, but in reality having flu can often be much worse, especially for young children.

“It can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.”

In light of the levels of COVID-19 circulating, extra precautions have been put in place to reduce the chance of virus spreading. Healthcare staff at flu vaccination clinics will be wearing face coverings and you will be asked to wear one, too, when you take your child for their appointment.

There may be different arrangements while you are waiting to have the vaccine and you may have it in a different place to normal. These changes are happening to make sure it is safe for you to attend.

For more information about the flu and the vaccination programme go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/