Parents in Oxfordshire are being urged to have their young children vaccinated against the flu this winter.
Children aged two and three can have a free, quick and painless nasal spray vaccine at their GP surgery.
In addition, children in primary school and those in year seven can have the nasal spray vaccine via the school nurse service.
Ansaf Asaf, Director of Public Health at Oxfordshire County Council said: “It’s more important than ever that everybody eligible gets a free flu vaccination this winter. Young children don’t have to get an injection, and instead can get a quick, painless nasal spray.
“By ensuring that young children get their vaccinations, we can also help to protect our older and more vulnerable friends and family members by reducing the risk of transmission.”
Dr Ed Capo-Bianco, Urgent Care lead at Oxfordshire CCG, said; “Flu can be serious for young children, so help protect them from the illness with one simple nasal spray. It is free, fast and painless. Children are also super-spreaders of the flu; by vaccinating them we can reduce the risk of transmission to frail older people and those in ‘at risk’ groups.”
Emma Leaver, Oxford Health Service Director, said: “Protection against flu is one of the best things you can do this winter to help keep your child healthy and I would urge parents of young children to take up the free offer. It’s a painfree nasal spray that is administered easily to young children, so no injections.
“Oxford Health is playing a leading role in protecting older children and, at the moment, we are carrying out 68,000 flu immunisations in schools over a 10 week period. Be sure to fill in the online consent forms so your children can receive the immunisation they need.”
“I also urge parents or carers to give consent for their child to have the nasal spray flu vaccine if they are attending primary school.”
This year, the NHS is aiming to vaccinate around 4.5 million people in the South East – up from 2.6 million last winter – to help prevent the spread of flu. For the first time, children in school Year 7, and household contacts and carers of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, are all eligible for the free vaccination. The full list of those who are eligible for a free flu vaccine on the NHS is below:
- People aged 65 years and over
- Patients aged from six months to 65 years in clinical ‘at risk’ groups (see below)
- Pregnant women
- Children aged 2 and 3
- Children in primary school and Year 7
- People in long-stay residential care homes
- Social care and hospice workers who provide direct patient contact
- Health and social care staff working in residential/nursing homes
- Patients on the NHS shielded patient list
- Household contacts of carers and those on the NHS shielded patient list