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Hampshire parents urged by NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of White Clinical Commissioning Group to get pre-school children vaccinated against flu

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PARENTS and carers have been urged to get their pre-school children aged two or three vaccinated against flu.

The call to vaccinate toddlers has come from the NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). It highlighted this will be the first winter that flu and Covid-19 will co-circulate amid social contact returning to pre-pandemic norms.

Because of that, the CCG anticipates a higher rate of flu infection, while research suggests that contracted flu and Covid-19 at the same time will lead to serious illness.

The flu vaccine is a nasal spray
The flu vaccine is a nasal spray

Hampshire GP Dr Tim Cooper 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.

"Children who are two or three, or eligible four-year-olds, will be able to have their vaccine done at their GP surgery, while school-aged children will be offered theirs in school.

"The vaccine is a nasal spray – a single spray up each nostril – it’s quick, it’s painless and it’s really easy."

He continued: "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."

Vaughan Lewis, NHS England medical director and NHS Improvement’s south east region, said: "Infection with the flu virus has a serious impact on the health of thousands of people every winter, and getting your child vaccinated will protect them, and reduce the chance of them passing it to other family members and loved ones, so please book an appointment for your child as soon as possible."

Flu symptoms can appear very quickly and include a high temperature about 38C, an aching body, feeling exhausted, sore throat and runny nose and loss of appetite. Children may also become less active and get ear pain.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is free on the NHS for children aged two or three years on 31st August 2021 this year, all primary school children (reception to Year 6), all Year 7 to Year 11 children in secondary school and children aged 2-17 years with long-term health conditions.

Even if your child had a flu vaccination last year, the type of flu can vary each winter, so the NHS recommends a flu vaccine each year to boost immunity.

The nasal spray is safe and effective and offers the best protection for children aged two to 17 years. In some instances, the flu vaccine injection can be offered if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable.

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