Parents urged to act on free flu vaccination invitation

Published Tuesday 13 October 2020 at 10:05

Health leaders across Pennine Lancashire are urging parents to act when they receive an invitation from school or their GP about their child’s free flu vaccination.

This year the free immunisation has been extended and is being offered to children aged two, three and four, all primary school children and all children in year 7 at secondary school.

The move will help protect a larger number of children across Pennine Lancashire and help provide protection to schools, friends, family, and the wider population from the flu virus.

Dr Aliya Bhat, a GP and clinical lead for children at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said:

Children aged two, three and four are more vulnerable and can be hit hard by flu. In addition, they spread infections easily. They’re not bothered about covering their mouth when they cough, sneeze, or keeping their hands clean. And if they’re around family members of friends that are over 65 or who have a health condition, they’re putting them at risk too.

Dr Chris Gardner, a Consultant Paediatrician at Royal Blackburn Hospital, said:

Whilst I’d really like to extend my thanks to all the families out there who usually take the time to vaccinate themselves and their children against flu, this year I really need to urge everyone to once again take this free opportunity to protect themselves from what can be a really serious and sometimes fatal virus.

The vaccination for children is very quick and easy; it is given by squirting a single dose of nasal spray up each nostril. The vaccine is safe and painless and will help protect those more vulnerable to the flu virus such as grandparents, who the child could come into contact with.

Councillor Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care at Blackburn with Borough Council, said:

This year, more than ever, it’s really important to get a free flu vaccination if you are in one of the ‘at risk’ categories. Winter will pose some serious difficulties with the coronavirus pandemic and so you will be helping to protect your families, colleagues and the most vulnerable members of the community at a time when we must do all we can.

If your child is aged two or three, please contact your GP to book your appointment and if your child is at primary school or in year 7 at secondary school, please ensure you sign the consent form which will be sent to you from school.

Those with asthma or other long term conditions should automatically be contacted by their GP. Young people with long-term health conditions up to the age of 17 are also eligible to receive a free flu vaccination at their GP practice or local pharmacy.

If you want more information about when and how your child will be vaccinated against flu, talk to the GP, practice nurse or your child’s school nurse.

Information can also be found online.

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