Parents and carers of 2–3-year olds are being encouraged to book their children in for a free flu vaccination.
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for children and it can also lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Children can also catch and spread flu easily. Vaccinating them offers them the best protection against flu while also protecting others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies and older people.
The nasal spray flu vaccine is free on the NHS for children aged 2 or 3 on 31 August 2023, all primary school aged children, secondary school children and children from the age of 6 months with certain long term health conditions. It is quick, painless and has an excellent safety record.
School aged children will receive their flu vaccine through schools but parents of 2-3-year-olds and younger children with a long term health condition need to book their children in for a vaccine at their local GP practice.
Tameside mum Fiona Burnside, who has a 3-year-old daughter Erin, is reiterating the importance of vaccinating children this winter.
Fiona, an occupational therapist from Dukinfield, said: “I feel it is incredibly important to encourage Erin to look after her health and protect herself from infection such as the flu. I want her to enjoy the winter season, outdoors, mixing with friends but remain as protected as possible with the vaccine.”
Prior to the appointment for the vaccine, Fiona prepared Erin by talking her through what would happen.
She said: “At the appointment, the nurse explained again what would happen, and when she began to administer the vaccine, she suggested that it smelt like pineapple which Erin thought was funny and agreed that it actually did smell like pineapple. After it has been done Erin said, Mum you were right it was just a little tickle and now I’m protected for winter. She was absolutely fine straight after and also had no side effects over the following days.”
Fiona added:”I receive the vaccine as I work within the NHS and I am keen to protect Erin further due to exposure I may have. We also have a 10-month-old baby, so with Erin receiving one vaccine it is ensuring as a family we are doing what we can to prevent and reduce our chance of catching the flu.”
Tameside Council Executive Member for Population Health and Wellbeing Cllr Eleanor Wills said: “It is so important for parents and careers to vaccinate their children against flu. A happy, healthy child means less disruption to everyday life – if your child gets flu, you may have to take time off work or arrange alternative childcare . Protecting your child will also help to prevent the spread of the virus to any vulnerable family or friends.”
Parents can find out more about booking their 2-3 year olds for their free flu vaccination by contacting their GP practice.