Doctors in Kent and Medway are urging parents and guardians to make sure their children have a flu vaccine.
This year, two- and three-year olds, all primary school children, and children in school year 7 will be offered the flu vaccination on the NHS.
For most children the vaccine is a quick and easy spray up the nose, making administration quick, painless and simple. Dr Navin Kumta, Clinical Chair for NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is important that parents make sure children are protected as they can easily spread the illness among their friends and family. Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness. This can last several days or more.
“Some children can get a very high fever, sometimes without the usual flu symptoms, and may need to go to hospital for treatment. Serious complications of flu include a painful ear infection, acute bronchitis, and lung disease including pneumonia and bronchiolitis.
“Parents of children aged two and three should have received a letter from their GP practice with details on how to get the vaccine. Please do take up this offer.
“If all eligible children are vaccinated, we could significantly reduce the number of people getting flu in the wider community. This year it’s particularly important as we want to make sure that we are protecting as many people as we can who are in high risk groups to avoid the combination of flu and Covid-19 infection.”
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Clair Bell said: “We are supporting the NHS and health partners across Kent by urging residents to get the flu jab – it’s more important this year than ever that we all play a part to keep well and help to protect the rest of the community and reduce the demands on local NHS services by taking steps now.”
Parents should receive an invitation for their two- and three-year olds to have the flu vaccination at their GP surgery before the winter. If they haven’t heard from their GP, they should contact the practice they are registered with directly to make an appointment. Children in this age group have a date of birth between 01/09/16 and 31/08/18.
Vaccination sessions will be held at schools during the autumn term for primary school-aged children and those in Year 7 at secondary school. Children who do not attend school will be invited to an alternative local venue. Please wait until an invitation and/or consent form is received and follow the instructions provided.
For more information, go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine