Wednesday, 19 Jan 2022

Should I give my child the flu vaccine?

Flu symptoms are extremely close to covid symptoms, so it’s easy to confuse the two. That’s one of the reasons why the NHS is offering the flu jab to more people than usual this year, including children. But should I give my child the flu vaccine? Do they really need it?

The NHS normally offers a free flu jab to those over 65, pregnant people, those with certain medical conditions, and more.

This year, the vaccine will be given to a range of different people to protect them against the flu.

The flu kills a staggering 17,000 people in a year in England alone, and increasing vaccinations against it will prevent hospitalisations from the flu while the NHS is overwhelmed with covid-cases.

That’s why the vaccine is being offered on the NHS for a larger group of people this year, including children.

READ MORE- Free flu jab age: How old do you have to be to get free NHS vaccine?

The following people can get the flu jab on the NHS for free this year:

  • Adults 65 and over people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from six months of age)
  • Pregnant women
  • People living with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
  • Children aged two and three on August 31, 2020
  • Children in primary school
  • Children in year seven (secondary school)
  • Frontline health or social care workers

The children’s flu vaccine is given in a nasal spray rather than injected.

Flu hits children differently, and can potentially cause bronchitis and pneumonia in them.

Children aged two to four will be given the vaccination at the GP surgery, but schoolchildren will be offered their vaccination in school.

Home-schooled children will also be offered the vaccine if they are of the appropriate age.

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The nasal spray vaccine is quick and easy to administer.

It’s one spritz up each nostril and needle-free.

This version of the vaccine works even better than the injected flu vaccine, according to the NHS.

The spray is absorbed very quickly and will still work if your child develops a runny nose, sneezes or blows their nose.

Should I give my child the flu vaccine?

Your child does not have to have the vaccination, but it might be a good idea to get it done.

The NHS site explains children spread flu quicker because they don’t use tissues properly or wash their hands enough.

With kids back at school, they could risk spreading the flu to other children.

Let’s not forget that the symptoms of flu and coronavirus are extremely similar.

Having the flu vaccination could prevent confusion between the two and any symptoms after the jab would suggest to you that your child has coronavirus.

Vaccinating children will also protect others who are more vulnerable to the flu.

This includes babies, older people, pregnant women, and those with serious long-term illnesses.

If your child frequently comes into contact with any of these vulnerable people, it’s worth getting them vaccinated.

Children very occasionally die of flu themselves, and healthy children under the age of five are the most likely age group to be sent to hospital with the flu.

Preventing them from catching the flu will be a weight lifted from the NHS.

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