Parents encouraged to vaccinate children against flu
Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group is urging parents to help protect their families and the community from the spread of illness by having their children vaccinated in the borough's largest ever flu vaccination programme. This year around 27,600 children will be invited for their free nasal flu vaccine (including those aged two to three).
Flu is a horrible, nasty viral infection that cannot be treated with antibiotics. For most people flu is unpleasant with the common symptoms being fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent long term health effects or even death. In the UK an average of 600 people a year die from complications of flu, but in some years this has risen to over 10,000 people.
The flu can easily spread from one family member to another by coughs and sneezes, or by touching surfaces where the virus has landed. Along with ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ messages, and teaching children to wash their hands regularly, parents can help to protect younger children by ensuring they receive their vaccination.
This year, healthy children aged two and three will be invited through their family GP – as will children with long-term health conditions below the age of 18. Children in school, from Reception to Year 4, will be invited through their school based nasal flu vaccination programme which will run from October through to December.
Dr Wirin Bhatiani, Chair of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “As a parent and now a grandparent myself, I know you just want to do everything in your power to protect children from illness. That is why I’m encouraging all youngsters to be vaccinated including my own grandchild. Flu is not just a bad cold, it can be dangerous and in rare cases, particularly in the very young, elderly or those with a reduced immune system, flu can kill people who are otherwise healthy. I can reassure parents that the nasal spray vaccine is quick, easy and pain free and is the best way to prevent families getting the flu. If you have a child aged 8 and under, please visit your GP or ask your school about vaccination.”
The flu vaccination is free of charge to children 2-8 years as well as pregnant ladies, those who are 65 and over and anyone with a long-term health condition.
With more people eligible than ever for a free flu vaccine we are asking you to please “Don’t put it off” contact your GP today.
For more helpful advice around how you and your family can stay well this winter come to our Winter Roadshow on Tuesday 24 October from 10am to 4pm in Victoria Square.
As part of the national seasonal flu campaign, free flu vaccination is also available to the following individuals:
- Anyone aged 65 years and over
- Those aged 6 months to 65 years with an underlying health condition (speak to your doctor)
- Pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy, including those who become pregnant during flu season (also recommended to receive their whooping cough vaccination)
- Those with chronic (long-term) heart disease
- Those with chronic respiratory disease, such as severe asthma or COPD
- Those with liver disease or kidney disease
- Those with diabetes
- Those with neurological disease such as Multiple Sclerosis
- Those with a weakened immune system due to treatment (e.g. for cancer) or condition such as HIV/AIDS
- Household contacts of an immunocompromised person
- Those living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities
- Health or social care workers (speak to your employer)
- Carers receiving Carer’s Allowance
- Those with a BMI over 40