Annual NHS flu vaccination program for children is getting underway


The annual NHS flu vaccination program for youngsters aged 2 to three years, faculty age kids and kids over 6 months with sure well being situations is getting underway. Dad and mom will obtain invitations from subsequent week.

The UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA) and NHS England are calling on mother and father to ensure kids’s consent varieties are accomplished, and that eligible pre-schoolers are booked in for appointments on the GP follow, to assist halt the unfold of flu this autumn and winter.

Over 8 million kids in reception to yr 11 shall be provided the free nasal spray flu vaccine, delivered in colleges by immunization groups up and down the nation. Kids aged 2 and three years (on or earlier than 31 August) are eligible for the free nasal spray by way of their GP follow.

Kids aged between 6 months and a couple of years with a long-term well being situation that makes them at greater danger from flu shall be provided a flu vaccine injection as a substitute of the nasal spray. It is because the nasal spray isn’t licensed for youngsters aged beneath 2 years.

Flu rebounded final winter after being saved low since March 2020 by COVID-19 management measures. UKHSA‘s preliminary evaluation discovered that deaths linked to flu final winter have been the best because the 2017 to 2018 season. Over 10,000 kids have been hospitalized final winter as a result of an infection. Vaccination effectiveness knowledge from final yr confirmed that the vaccines diminished the chance of hospitalizations by two-thirds.

Flu vaccine is the perfect safety we’ve got in opposition to an unpredictable virus. Flu could be a very disagreeable sickness in kids inflicting:

  • fever
  • excessive tiredness
  • aching muscle mass and joints
  • stuffy nostril
  • dry cough
  • sore throat

Problems of flu embody painful irritation contained in the ear, and pneumonia that makes respiration troublesome.

Every winter 1000’s of kids must go to hospital for remedy, together with intensive care, with kids aged beneath 5 years having one of many highest charges of hospital admissions as a result of flu. By getting vaccinated, your little one additionally protects others round them, together with infants, grandparents and other people with weak immune techniques.

Dr Conall Watson, Public Well being Guide and Lead Flu Epidemiologist at UKHSA, mentioned:

Flu could be extra than simply an disagreeable sickness in kids – for some an an infection is life-threatening, together with children who’re usually very energetic and wholesome. Flu vaccines give very important safety – not simply holding children properly, but additionally out of hospital. Every winter 1000’s of kids require remedy in hospital for flu or its problems.

Many of those episodes could possibly be prevented by a easy nasal spray. On prime of serving to to maintain your little one wholesome, the flu vaccine additionally helps cease the unfold of flu in the neighborhood – serving to to guard those that are extra susceptible and the aged comparable to grandparents.

Once you get the digital or paper consent kind from the NHS faculty immunisation staff, please be sure to return it, so your little one would not miss their nasal spray vaccination session. When you have a pre-schooler aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August, you must make an appointment to get their nasal spray vaccination on the GP follow.”

NHS Director of Vaccinations and Screening, Steve Russell, mentioned:

With kids not too long ago returning to highschool, it’s important that they’re vaccinated in opposition to flu as shortly as potential to guard themselves and their susceptible family members.

The quick and straightforward nasal spray has a confirmed document of defending kids who want it most, with the NHS providing it to nearly all of kids this yr.

I might encourage anybody with questions to return ahead and communicate to your GP or different healthcare professionals for recommendation.”

In case your little one has a medical situation that makes them extra in danger from flu, comparable to bronchial asthma or cerebral palsy, you will get them vaccinated on the GP follow in case you do not wish to look forward to the college session. Kids who cannot have the nasal spray for medical or religion causes ought to have an injected flu vaccine as a substitute, additionally offered free by the NHS.

The nasal spray vaccine doesn’t trigger flu, as a result of the viruses in it have been weakened to stop this from occurring, however the weakened viruses assist every little one to construct up immunity. This implies vaccinated kids shall be higher capable of battle off flu. The vaccine is absorbed in a short time within the nostril so even when the kid sneezes instantly after having had the spray, there is not any want to fret that it hasn’t labored.

Uncomfortable side effects of the nasal spray are usually delicate if current in any respect. Kids could develop a runny or blocked nostril, headache, common tiredness, and a few lack of urge for food. Nevertheless, these are a lot milder than creating flu or problems of flu, and a few of these shall be as a result of frequent chilly viruses circulating on the time the flu vaccine is given.

Infections comparable to flu, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), norovirus (the winter vomiting bug) and scarlet fever (attributable to group A streptococcus) normally begin to rise all through autumn and winter. Protecting kids off faculty when unwell is essential to slowing the unfold of many sicknesses.

In case your little one is unwell and has a fever, they need to keep dwelling from faculty or nursery till they really feel higher, and the fever has resolved.

In case your little one has diarrhea and/or vomits, they need to keep off faculty or nursery for a minimum of 48 hours after their signs clear up.

It is high-quality to ship your little one to highschool with a minor cough or frequent chilly. Nevertheless, if they’ve a fever, hold them off faculty till the fever goes.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal School of Basic Practitioners mentioned:

We’re heading right into a troublesome winter for common follow and the NHS so it is essential that we’re all as ready as potential. That is why we welcome the beginning of the kids’s flu vaccination programme and are encouraging mother and father to take up this essential alternative to guard their kids.

Getting your little one vaccinated not solely retains them secure, however all your loved ones members – notably older grandparents and great-grandparents who could also be susceptible to the doubtless harmful problems of flu – and the broader inhabitants.

We have to keep in mind that influenza is a doubtlessly life-threatening sickness, and we should not let falling charges of vaccination turn into one other hidden legacy of the pandemic. The widespread disruption in healthcare meant that many vaccination programmes for ailments apart from COVID-19 misplaced momentum. This have to be addressed, and we have to see a return to excessive charges of vaccination charges throughout the board.

Having your little one vaccinated in opposition to flu will assist household docs to guard their sufferers most successfully and be sure that NHS companies can be found for individuals who want them most over the approaching months.”

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