Make sure your pre-schooler gets their flu vaccine

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Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging parents to get their pre-school children aged two and over vaccinated this autumn as part of the annual flu vaccination programmes. Pre-school children aged two years and over can receive the vaccination through their local GP surgery. It is offered as a nasal flu vaccine, which comes in the form of a simple spray. This means that parents of these children can ensure their child receives the best protection against the flu by availing of the free vaccine. Dr Richard Smithson, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, said, “We encourage parents and guardians of all pre-school children aged two years and over to get their child vaccinated to help protect them against this unpleasant and sometimes serious illness. “It will also reduce the likelihood of passing the disease on to other children or family members, some of whom may be at increased risk of being seriously ill from having the flu. The flu virus spreads easily and quickly through the air when people cough and sneeze without covering their nose and mouth, infecting both adults and children alike. Flu can cause the same unpleasant symptoms in children as it does with adults – fever, chills, aching muscles and joints, headache and extreme tiredness. These symptoms can last between two and seven days and for some people can lead to serious illness and result in a stay in hospital. All at-risk children should continue to receive the flu vaccine as they have done in previous years. For medical reasons, a very small number of children will not be able to receive the nasal vaccine. They will be offered the usual flu vaccine by injection instead. Parents or guardians can speak to their GP for further advice. For more information about the flu vaccine for 2014/15, visit, or speak to your GP, nurse or member of staff within the school nurse team at your local Health and Social Care Trust. The PHA has also produced a short video about the nasal flu vaccine for children, which can be seen at
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