Spread cheer, not flu, this festive season: NHS Sussex encourages parents to get their little elves vaccinated

The parents of thousands of children in Sussex are being urged to get their child protected against flu this year, reducing the risk of them becoming seriously ill and infecting their wider family.
Protect your little elves this ChristmasProtect your little elves this Christmas
Protect your little elves this Christmas

Last year, over 6,000 under 5s in England ended-up in hospital because of flu, which is why it’s important for parents to get their Little Elves vaccinated.

The nasal spray vaccination is quick, effective, and painless, and robust safety rules are being followed wherever and whenever vaccinations take place whether that is at your GP practice, or at your child’s school, to make sure these are being done safely to every child, parents, and staff.

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Every child aged two to three is eligible, and can receive the vaccine at their GP practice. Children in Reception to Year 7 will receive the vaccination at school.

Children of all ages with a health condition that puts them at greater risk of flu are also eligible for the flu vaccine.

Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can be a very unpleasant illness in children with symptoms including fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints and extreme tiredness, which can often last several days.

Children can face serious complications from flu virus, including a painful ear infection, acute bronchitis, and pneumonia, so some may even need hospital for treatment.

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Protecting children can also stop the flu virus spreading to other children and the family, especially babies and grandparents, who may be at higher risk from flu and who may be trying their best to stay well at this current time.

· children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023 (born between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2021)

· all primary school children (Reception to Year 6)

· some secondary school aged children

· children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions

The nasal spray vaccine offers the best protection for children aged 2 to 17 years. They will be offered a flu vaccine injection if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them.

Leanne, a Sussex mum of a 3- and 7-year-old, said:

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“It is really important to me to protect my children each winter. It is so simple and easy, and the teams who provide the nasal sprays are brilliant at talking to little ones and explaining to them exactly what will happen and put them at ease.

“It is a simple little spray and done so quickly; and knowing they are protected against the flu is incredible.

“There can be so much to plan and prepare at this time of year, but everyone should make sure they have their children’s flu vaccination on that list!”

A spokesperson for NHS Sussex, said:

“For young people, flu can go on to cause other complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, ear infections, and septicaemia. It can also spread easily from young children to other vulnerable people including babies and elderly family members.

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“The best way for parents and carers to protect their toddlers, young children, and wider families against serious complications of the flu is to arrange for your child to have a flu vaccination.

“If you have a 2 or 3-year-old pre-school child, please make an appointment with your GP practice for them to have their flu vaccine at your earliest opportunity.”

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