Parents of two and three-year-olds can now book an appointment for the free nasal flu vaccine simply by contacting their GP.
Doctors across Greater Manchester have already seen a high demand for the free nasal flu vaccination, designed especially to protect healthy children, and are expecting this to continue in coming weeks.
The vaccine is given as a spray squirted up each nostril. It is quick and painless.
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for children. It can also lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Youngsters with flu have the same symptoms as adults – but if complications develop they may end up in hospital.
Children spread flu easily. So, vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable to flu – such as babies and older people.
Nakita, a Manchester mum, has recorded a short video about why she recently vaccinated her three-year-old daughter and she’s urging others to follow her lead.
In the film, Nakita said:
“The flu vaccinations are really important. It’s particularly important for me because my youngest daughter got flu a few days before her vaccination last year and was poorly for a month.”
A local GP has also lent her voice to the call to get as many children vaccinated as possible.
Dr Almas Agha, from Manchester Medical in Moss Side, said:
“The flu nasal spray is widely available in all GP surgeries and we encourage all parents to get their children vaccinated.
“It protects from flu and not only protects the children but also protects the wider community, especially the elderly.”
If a child is at primary school or in year 7, they will be offered the nasal flu vaccination at school. All parents or guardians need to do to have their child vaccinated is fill in a consent form and return it to their school.
Changes have been made to make sure it’s safe for children to have the flu vaccine at GP surgeries or at school while coronavirus continues to circulate.
GP practices will be able to advise on the extra safety measures that have been put in place when booking appointments for the vaccination.
Christine Khiroya, Greater Manchester nurse consultant with lead responsibility for screening and immunisation, said:
“Flu can be extremely serious, and in some cases life threatening – especially for small children. However, unlike coronavirus we have an effective vaccine.
“The nasal spray vaccine gives children the best protection against flu, so please book an appointment with your GP. The sooner you get it done the better, you’ll not only be protecting you’re little one but keeping the rest of the family safe too.”
The flu vaccination is also available for free to people who are at higher risk from the virus, such as the over 65s and those with long-term health conditions.
The adult vaccine is available from both GPs and local pharmacies.