Health professionals across St Helens are encouraging parents and carers to help protect their children from flu this winter as the largest ever programme vaccinating children against it gets underway.
Building on the success of last year, children aged 2, 3 and 4 can get a free nasal spray vaccination from their GP and children in reception and school years 1,2,3 and 4 will be offered the free nasal spray vaccination at school.
The campaign is also encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated against flu. Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system, and so flu can cause serious complications for mother and her unborn baby.
St Helens mum Louise Fairburn, who is backing the campaign is calling on other parents and carers to do the same and protect their children from flu. Louise, from Eccleston Park, said: “I think it’s a great idea for young children to get vaccinated against flu and that it will be offered through a free nasal spray, rather than an injection”.
“I am also pregnant with twins and have protected myself and my unborn babies by having the flu vaccine and my 3 year old son Alex will be protected by having the flu nasal spray.
“I would definitely encourage other parents to get their children vaccinated as children can spread infections so easily. It’s free and is the best way to protect your children against flu.”
Sue Forster, St Helens Council’s Director of Public Health said “Children are most likely to spread flu to others, so vaccinating them helps protect the wider community too.
“I would also urge everyone who is eligible for the vaccine such as those aged over 65 and people with long term health conditions, who are at much greater risk of becoming seriously unwell if they catch flu, to get themselves protected. It is free because people in at risk groups need it. The sooner they have the jab the better.”
For more information about flu and the vaccine, please visit www.nhs.uk/flu