Each year the flu immunisation programme helps provide protection to individual children. Children under the age of five have the highest hospital admission rates for flu compared to other age groups.
The immunisation programme also reduces the spread of flu to their families, younger siblings, grandparents and the wider community, protecting others who are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from flu. Vaccination is in the form of a nasal spray.
Children less than 2 years old, but over six months of age, with a long term health condition that puts them at increased risk of flu should also have annual flu vaccination. Children under the age of 2 will be offered an injected vaccine as the nasal spray is not licensed for them.
All children who are aged two and three years old can get the vaccine at their general practice.
A programme for schools runs alongside the preschool programme and all those in reception class and school years 1 to 5 will be offered flu vaccination this autumn in their school.
There are other ways you can limit the spread of flu:
- Wash hands regularly with soap and warm water
- use tissues to cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- put used tissues in a bin as soon as possible
- Regularly clean surfaces such as tables, and door handles which can also help to get rid of germs.
- Protect yourselves. Young children are frequently “spreaders” of flu germs, by accessing the vaccine you will protect yourselves, your family and those you work with.
Pre School Boosters
Shown below are the pre-school immunisations every child will be offered at three years and four months of age. These immunisations protect against serious childhood diseases as children grow up and will “top up” their antibody levels from baby immunisations
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio (dTaP/IPV or DTaP/IPV)
This is given as one injection and is a booster dose of these vaccines which were given during the first 4 months of life.
Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
This is given as one injection and is a second dose of the MMR vaccine given at one year of age. Occasionally, complete immunity to measles, mumps or rubella does not develop after a single dose of the MMR vaccine so two doses are required
(If a child has not had the first dose yet, it should be given now and the second dose one month later)
When children attend for their pre-school immunisations it is important to make sure all their other immunisations are up to date. The GP practice will have a record of immunisations children have received.