Surge in number of youngsters getting free flu vaccinations

Thirty per cent more young children got a flu jab this winter than last, it was revealed.

Thursday, 15th March 2018, 1:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th March 2018, 2:35 pm
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Health bosses in the county said there were ‘delighted’ with the surge, which saw 52,000 four to nine-year-olds vaccinated in Lancashire.

A total of 63 per cent of children in that age group were protected against the flu virus, up from 32 per cent last winter.

The medical director at NHS Lancashire and Cumbria, Dr Kieran Murphy, said the uptick was ‘great news’.

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“The vaccination helps not only the child, but their friends and family by decreasing the risk of spreading the flu,” he said.

“All too often we hear about those most vulnerable, including young children being extremely poorly with flu and health-related complications. This winter has seen unprecedented pressures on the NHS and by having your child vaccinated against flu you can help to reduce the spread and decrease the amount of people requiring hospital treatment for health conditions relating to flu.”

Children’s flu vaccinations are given as quick, pain-free nasal sprays and are free for those up to Year Four at primary school.

They are offered them because the virus is a very common infection in babies and young children, who experience the same symptoms as adults. Some develop high fever or complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and ‘very occasionally’ one may die, the NHS said.

NHS chiefs said the surge in vaccinations was ‘really promising’ but are expected to call on all parents to take up the offer for their children next year.

In Blackpool, 60.8 per cent of reception children, 59.4 per cent of Year Ones, 57.3 per cent of Year Twos, 56.5 per cent of Year Threes, and 55.5 per cent of Year Fours were vaccinated. New vaccines are needed each year.