With nursery and school terms well underway, parents and guardians of young children are encouraged not to put off getting the free flu vaccination for their children.

This year children aged two to four and those in School Years 1, 2 and 3 are all eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS. The child-friendly nasal spray means children can avoid having an injection and instead have a quick, painless squirt into each nostril. 

In Swindon, children can visit their GP for the nasal spray vaccination and parents are encouraged to contact their GP practice to book an appointment*. Children of all ages over six months with a health condition that puts them at greater risk of flu are also eligible for the flu vaccine.

Flu is a very unpleasant illness in children causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness. This can often last several days. Flu can be serious too. Some children can become very ill and may need to go to hospital for treatment. Serious complications of flu include a painful ear infection, acute bronchitis, and pneumonia.

Dr Ardiana Gjini, Consultant in Public Health Medicine for Swindon at NHS England said: “It is important we protect young children from the flu virus in time for winter and get them vaccinated now. Children can become very poorly if they catch flu and the infection can sometimes result in a series disease with serious complications. The nasal spray is a quick and painless vaccination that prevents children from catching flu.

“Vaccinating your child with the nasal spray can stop flu spreading to other children and the family, especially babies and grandparents, who may be at higher risk from flu.”

It’s crucial to get children vaccinated this autumn and winter even if they had the flu vaccination last year. The flu vaccine provides protection against the strains of flu that are likely to circulate this year and which may be different from last year – that’s why all eligible patients should be vaccinated every year. So make sure you visit your GP when your child is offered the nasal spray vaccine.