Health leaders from NHS Erewash and NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are backing celebrity Peter Andre’s call to all eligible parents to not put off getting their child vaccinated. For the first time ever four year olds in Derbyshire can benefit from the free NHS flu vaccination programme.
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children, causing fever, stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints as well as extreme tiredness, often lasting for several days.
The children’s flu vaccination programme is being introduced in stages and this year the vaccine is being offered free to children born between 2 September 2009 and 1 September 2012.
Key points regarding the flu vaccine:
- The vaccine is given as a nasal spray, is painless and easy to give.
- The flu vaccination cannot cause flu. The vaccine helps the child’s body to learn to defend itself, building up its immunity to flu viruses and decreases the likelihood of the child catching flu if they do come into contact with someone already infected.
- Flu can be a nasty illness that can lead to a stay in hospital, especially for children with other medical conditions.
- If a child does get the flu then then they will not be able to go to school/nursery for several days and will need to be cared for at home, meaning parents and carers may need to take time off work.
- Protecting children with the flu vaccine will also help to protect others, in particular older relatives and other potential vulnerable family members as well as the child’s friends.
Last year 40% of all eligible children in England were vaccinated against flu during the 2013/14 season. The flu vaccine for children is expected eventually to prevent at least 2,000 deaths from flu in the general population and lead to 11,000 fewer hospitalisations.
Dr Avi Bhatia, Chair of NHS Erewash CCG, said:
“Flu can be a very nasty illness in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults, including fever, chills and aching muscles. The flu vaccine is available free to all eligible 2-4 year olds and is the best way a parent can protect their little ones and those that come into contact with their children.”
Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG, said:
“This is the first year that four year olds have been included in the free NHS flu vaccination programme. The nasal spray is excellent for children as it removes the need for needles and is quick, effective and painless; just a quick squirt and tickle up each nostril and then it’s all done. November is when we begin to see more cases of the flu, so parents getting their child vaccinated now are helping to decrease the risk of their little ones suffering with this unpleasant illness.”
TV star and father of three Peter Andre and his fiancée Emily MacDonagh are supporting the child vaccination programme. Peter said “I’m sure every parent will agree that it’s horrible to see your children poorly as you just want to protect them from pain and suffering. The flu vaccination is an easy way to make flu less likely to occur in those you love. Don’t put off getting the flu vaccine.”
Parents who wish to find out more about the flu vaccine are encouraged to visit www.nhs.uk/flu2014 or contact their local GP practice.