The Director of Nursing for NHS England, Cheshire and Merseyside is urging parents with young children to get their free flu vaccination now, to protect themselves and their children from getting ill this winter. 

The NHS across Cheshire and Merseyside has launched a campaign to encourage parents to protect their 2 to 3 year olds from the flu and to take up the offer of the free vaccination at their GP practice.  Flu is a highly infectious disease and can be dangerous for children.

Young children who get the flu have the same symptoms as adults; some can develop a very high fever or other complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia, which may need hospital treatment. For children, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick nasal spray from a GP or practice nurse if they are aged 2 to 3 years old. School children from reception class through to year 5 will get their nasal spray vaccination through their school.

In areas where the flu vaccine was piloted amongst primary school age children, there was a 94% reduction in GP influenza-like illness consultation rates; 74% reduction in A&E respiratory attendances, and 93% reduction in hospital admissions due to confirmed influenza in primary school children.  According to Public Health England, children under the age of have the highest rate of hospital admission rate for flu.

Director of Nursing, Hazel said:  “Flu can be horrible for children, it can lead to serious health problems and they can also spread it around the whole family. The flu vaccine protects children, from serious complications that could develop if they were to get the flu.

“If your children are eligible for the flu vaccine, get them vaccinated and protect them.  You will also be preventing the further spread of the flu virus to other relatives and friends who may be vulnerable, such as grandparents.”

Charlotte Rowley-Jones, mum to Esther, 3 said “I’d definitely recommend the flu nasal spray.

“It’s quick, easy and painless. Plus the benefit of knowing my little girl won’t pick up every little sniffle from pre-school; even if she did catch something the symptoms are less severe and over much quicker!

“The benefits are that she won’t pass things on to other people too who may be more vulnerable especially this time of year.”

Watch our short film of Esther giving her flu message https://youtu.be/6pIEeflRgtk   You can find more information about the flu vaccine at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/ and by following Facebook @NHSCMLSC or on Twitter @NHSEnglandNorth  #SWTWNW