In Newham last year, less than 30% of children aged 2 and 3 years old had their free flu vaccine, and only half of all residents eligible for the flu jab were vaccinated.
Without vaccination children are more likely to catch the flu and spread it to others who are at higher risk like babies and the elderly, even if they don’t have symptoms.
If you are at increased risk from coronavirus, you are also more at risk of problems from flu. Research shows that if you get both viruses at the same time, you are more likely to be seriously ill.
It is safe to have the flu vaccine, even if you have previously had flu or Covid-19.
Dr Muhammad Naqvi, a local GP and chair of Newham Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“It is vitally important that in this unprecedented year that parents of young children get them vaccinated for flu. It can be a very unpleasant illness for children and it can also lead to serious problems.
Children spread it easily and vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable to flu.''
As well as children, a flu vaccine is available for free on the NHS from your GP or a local pharmacy if you:
- are 65 and over (including those who'll be 65 by 31 March 2021)
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant (you can also get it from your midwife)
- are in a long-stay residential care
- receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- live with someone who was on the NHS Shielded Patient list
- frontline health or social care workers
All primary school and year 7 students get their nasal spray vaccination at school – you will be contacted by the school with details.
The nasal spray contains highly processed porcine gelatine to stabilise the vaccine virus. Many faith groups accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products. Find out more on the government flu website.
If you have questions about if your child should get the vaccination because of the porcine gelatine, please talk to your religious leader, GP or Vaccination UK (020 8214 1396 / 1395 / 1393 or [email protected]).
If you think you have flu, stay at home to prevent it spreading and rest until you feel better. Call your GP or NHS 111 if you have a health condition or feel really unwell.
Information on the children’s flu vaccine can be found