Parents in Bedford Borough are being urged to get their children vaccinated against seasonal flu.
Flu can be an unpleasant illness causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints and extreme tiredness often lasting for several days. Flu in children can cause serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and some children may need to go to hospital for treatment. Vaccinating your child will help protect them as well as more vulnerable family and friends by preventing the spread of flu.
From the age of two, the vaccine is given as a simple spray into the nose which is quick and painless and does not require an injection. It is offered in this form because it provides good overall protection for children against the flu virus, has a good safety record, and is easier to administer than injected vaccines.
Children should be vaccinated every year to ensure they are protected, as the flu virus can change each year.
Children who are eligible for the flu vaccine, usually given as a nasal spray, include:
- All children aged two and three (and four year olds provided they were three on the 31 August 2018). This is available from your local GP or community pharmacy.
- All children in reception and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. This will be offered at school by a qualified nursing team if permission has been given by their parents.
- Children up to the age of 17 with a long term health condition. This is available from your local GP, community pharmacy, or your child’s school if they are in one of the year groups listed above.
Muriel Scott, Director of Public Health for Bedford Borough Council said: “Children are more vulnerable to flu and related complications such as pneumonia. We want to reduce the number of our children being admitted to hospital due to flu, and encourage the uptake of the vaccine to keep our children safe and well.”
Councillor Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health at Bedford Borough Council, said: “It is really important to protect children against flu as they are vulnerable to developing serious complications. The flu vaccine is completely free for all children aged two to nine. Being vaccinated will help protect your child from flu, and will also prevent the spread of flu to other members of the family and the community. This can help to avoid valuable days missed by children at school and parents and carers at work to look after them.”
For the best protection, flu vaccines should be taken early, and will be offered in schools between October and December 2018.
The flu vaccine does not give you the flu but some people may experience minor symptoms afterwards, as with other vaccines.
For more information about flu and the flu vaccination please visit the NHS Choices website: