NHS urges parents to get children vaccinated against flu

Following a surge in serious cases of flu among under-fives in the capital, parents are being urged by the NHS in London to make sure their children are vaccinated if they are eligible for the flu vaccine.

Vax pop: flu vaccinations for children are free on the NHS

Across England, hospitalisations in young children are 44per cent higher than the last pre-pandemic year, with around 650 children under five in hospital with flu last week compared to around 450 at the same time in 2019-2020. This time last year there were less than 20 children in hospital with flu.

In London, vaccine uptake in children aged two to three is also behind last year’s figures. On average, 33per cent of two- to three-year-olds in London have received their vaccine so far this year, compared to 38per cent this time last year.

The NHS is continuing to see the impact of viruses circulating again post-pandemic. It comes as the latest winter data shows that nationally every day over the past week more than a thousand (1,162) general and acute beds were taken up by patients with flu and 87 patients with flu were in critical care beds. The year before there were an average of just 25 patients a day in hospital with flu.

Across the population, the intensive care admission rate is now higher for flu than for covid. The UK Health Security Agency recently recommended that the increasing level of flu circulating meant that it was appropriate for antivirals to be prescribed in primary care settings for flu.

The flu vaccine can protect young children from getting seriously ill and ending up in hospital. For most children aged two to three, it is a quick and painless spray up the nose which is administered in a GP surgery. If the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them, they will be offered a flu vaccine injection instead. More information can be found on the NHS website.

Parents and guardians of children aged two and three and children in a high-risk group can make an appointment through their GP surgery. Parents and guardians of any reception and primary school-aged children who missed their vaccination should contact their local school-aged vaccination service or ask at their school if unsure.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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