Flu can be horrible for young children if they get it, and on top of this they can easily pass it on to those around them who could be at high risk of serious complications if they catch it. Even if children don’t show any symptoms they can still pass the virus on, so ensuring they’re immunised is very important to protect both them and those around them.
For most children it’s a quick and painless nasal spray, which is much easier to give than an injection. Children aged 2 and 3 receive it for free through their GP, and all primary school-aged children (aged four to eleven) receive for free it in school – just make sure you sign and return the consent form allowing them to have the flu vaccine at school.
Dr Helen Horton, a Lead GP at NHS North Cumbria CCG, said: “Almost all children from reception age through to year 7 will be eligible to have the free vaccine as a nasal spray in school. A small number won’t be able to have it for medical reasons, and would need to attend their GP surgery for the injectable flu vaccine.
“Please be assured that where the vaccine is given in schools, lots of work has been carried out to ensure that social distancing and safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the process.”
“If your child is not in school or unwell on the day that the immunisation team is there, they will be offered the opportunity to make an appointment at a clinic so they can still get the vaccination.”
The immunisation team aim to vaccinate the majority of children in the eligible year groups across the county by the 15th December 2020.
Parents are asked to contact their immunisation team prior to the date of their school’s vaccinations if their child has:
- had the vaccination at the GP practice since the 1st September 2020
- has recently been unwell
- has had a change in their health
Dr Horton added “Children who get flu have the same symptoms as adults, including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat – and some children can develop a very high fever, or complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia, which may need hospital treatment. If you’re worried about your child’s symptoms please call NHS 111 in the first instance, as they can quickly give advice and help ensure your child receives the treatment they need.
“I’d urge everyone to make sure their children get the vaccine this winter, particularly with the risks that we already face from coronavirus. It will help to protect you, your family and your community. Parents of two or three year olds can ask their GP about the free nasal spray, and if you have a child in primary school please remember to look out for the consent form from their school and sign and return it to ensure they get their free vaccine.”