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17 December 2013
Local NHS leaders are backing a new national campaign to get all toddlers and small children vaccinated via a new nasal spray, against winter flu.
All parents with two and three-year-olds in Bedfordshire are encouraged to let their little ones be vaccinated with the spray, because flu can have such a devastating effect on small children. Already 27.1% (Oct 2013) of 2-3 year olds within Bedfordshire have received their flu vaccination.
Chris Marshall a GP at Salisbury House Surgery, Leighton Buzzard said: “Flu can be a very nasty illness that can lead to a stay in hospital, especially for children with other medical conditions.
“The vaccine is easy to give and painless and has been used safely in other countries for a number of years. Contact your GP to ask about getting your child vaccinated.”
A study published earlier this month by Public Health England and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, found children are key spreaders of flu.
Dr Helena Jopling Public Health Registrar from Bedford Borough Council, added: “Protecting your child can stop the flu spreading to other children and to the rest of the family, in particular to grandparents, who may be at particular risk from flu.”
Thousands of youngsters are already taking part in nasal spray vaccinations. The child vaccine programme will eventually be rolled out to include all those aged two to 16.
Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: "Severe winter flu and its complications can make people really ill and can kill – you are eleven times more likely to die from flu if you are in a clinical at-risk group. I urge everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine and help protect themselves and their families this winter.
“This year we are offering healthy two and three-year-olds a nasal spray vaccine to not only protect healthy children from flu, but to help to reduce the spread of flu and protect others, including younger brothers and sisters, grandparents and those who are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from flu.”
You can find further information about the child vaccine on https://www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk/page/?id=3784 or
Muslim and Jewish leaders have also assured their communities that the new nasal spray complies with their religious codes, despite containing a substance derived from pork gelatine. The end product is so far removed from pork that there is no breach of religious laws, they agreed.