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Get your two or three year olds protected with the free flu nasal spray

15 November 2022

a young child wearing a baseball cap back to front

Public Health in North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire Councils is recommending all parents or guardians of two and three year olds to get their child vaccinated with the free seasonal flu nasal spray as soon as possible.

Flu is a highly contagious infection which can be caught by anyone, and for some people, including small children, can have serious health implications. As well as being an unpleasant illness, in some cases it leads to more serious problems such as bronchitis, pneumonia, middle ear infection, sepsis, and can even prove fatal.

Ensuring your child has their flu vaccination can help to protect them from catching the virus as small children are highly susceptible, particularly those who attend nursery or other childcare settings.

When infected with flu, young children can pose a secondary risk to anyone vulnerable or elderly they come into contact with.

This year is predicted to be a bad winter for respiratory infections, with an expected significant rise in flu and COVID-19 infections occurring together. This combination increases the possibility of complications and is likely to result in increased hospitalisations and deaths.

Dr Annapurna Sen, Consultant in Health Protection for North and West Northamptonshire Councils says:

“The Northamptonshire uptake of flu vaccine in children aged two to three was very low last year with less than half vaccinated. This meant many very young children were unprotected from flu.

"This year we are all spending more time mixing with others, so it is especially important to make this a priority. All children in this age group are being offered this vaccination for free. It’s given to most children through a nasal spray which contains small amounts of weakened flu viruses and does not cause flu in children.

"I want to appeal to all parents and guardians to take personal responsibility to ensure your children receive their flu nasal spray, a simple procedure, but one which will protect them from flu as well as preventing the spread of the illness to vulnerable family and friends.”

As flu viruses change annually, a new nasal spray vaccine needs to be given each year, just as with the injection type flu vaccinations.

If you have not received an invitation for your child to receive the flu vaccine, speak to your GP practice to book an appointment.

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