Has your child had the free flu vaccine?

Leading health figures at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Sefton Council are encouraging parents to make sure their children receive their free flu vaccination.

The free flu vaccine is available to those who are at risk of the more serious effects of flu, this includes young children aged 2 to 8.

Parents with children in school years 1-3 will be asked for permission for them to receive the nasal spray vaccine at school.

For children below school age, parents can get them vaccinated at their local GP practice free of charge.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Young children are vulnerable to the serious effects of flu.

“The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu and drastically reduces serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk.

“For this reason it is important that parents take steps to ensure that their children receive the flu vaccination.”

Matt Ashton, Director of Public Health for Sefton and Knowsley, said: “I strongly recommend that all those who are eligible for a free vaccination make sure they get it in order to protect themselves from the adverse effects of flu.

“I will be having the vaccine again this year, and I am urging other people to do the same, to protect yourself, your families, and your community.”

Free flu vaccinations are available to all pregnant women, all children aged 2 to 4, children in years 1-3 at school and residents of all ages with a long term health condition and everyone aged 65 and over.

The flu virus is very unpredictable and, some years, flu causes more sickness than others because new strains emerge and spread. This is why it is really important for people eligible for a free flu vaccination to get it every year.

Dr Andy Mimnagh, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, added: “Anyone of any age with an existing health condition, like asthma or diabetes should get vaccinated, even if they generally feel healthy and well. This is because a dose of flu can greatly worsen their condition and make complications like pneumonia more likely.

"Carers are also eligible for a free flu jab as well as those they look after.

“If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, or if you have any questions about getting vaccinated, simply contact your GP practice or pharmacy and ask for advice.”

You can find a wide range of information about the annual flu immunisation campaign at www.nhs.uk and if you have any queries about whether you or someone you care for should have the vaccine simply ask at your GP practice or pharmacy.

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