Where should my child go for a flu vaccine?
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The flu vaccine is offered free each year to children, but due to the coronavirus pandemic may be even more at the forefront of parents’ minds this winter.
So, who is eligible and where can they get it?
MORE: Suffolk GPs warn flu vaccine is ‘essential’ for over-50s this winter amid coronavirus outbreakThe vaccine is available to children aged two or three years old (on 31 August of the current flu season), all primary school-aged children, all Year 7 secondary school-aged children and those with a health condition that puts them at greater risk from flu and those who live with someone who is on the NHS Shielded Patient List.
Public Health England advises parents:
•For two and three year olds, you should receive an invitation for your child to have [their flu vaccine] at their GP surgery before the winter. If you haven’t heard from their GP by early November, contact them directly to make an appointment
•For primary school-aged children and those in Year 7 at secondary school a vaccination session will be held at school during the autumn term. Your local healthcare team will contact you via the school
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•If your child is in an eligible group offered vaccination at school and has a health condition that puts them at increased risk from flu, you can ask your child’s GP surgery to provide the vaccine if you don’t want to wait until the school vaccination session or if this is what you prefer
MORE: Drive-thru flu jab clinic created for at-risk patientsThe vaccine for youngsters is a nasal spray and helps protect them from what can be a very nasty illness in children.
But if your child is aged between six months and two years and is in a high-risk group for flu, they’ll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray. This is because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under two years.
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Children aged 12 to 17 years with a long-term condition can have the vaccine at their GP surgery and may also have the injection if the nasal spray is not suitable for them.
Home-schooled children (aged four to 11) should be invited for vaccination by the local healthcare team.
Children under the age of five years have the highest rate of hospital admissions due to flu, Public Health England said.
Flu can cause fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness, which can last several days or more.
There is increased demand for the vaccine this year amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said there are 30 million doses in the UK, which he said was “more than enough” for those who need it.