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​​Get a flu jab and stay well this winter

Parents of children aged two, three and four are being reminded that they can help protect their little ones from flu this winter with one simple free nasal spray.

Anyone aged over 65 or with an existing health problem is eligible for a free flu jab while children aged two, three and four can continue to get the nasal spray vaccination from their GP. 

Children in years one and two in primary schools in London are also being offered the free flu nasal spray vaccination this year between October and December. 

Merton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting this year’s Stay Well This Winter campaign, led by NHS England and Public Health England, which aims to encourage anyone eligible for a free flu jab to get vaccinated. 

Dr Andrew Murray a local GP and Chair of Merton CCG, said flu can be dangerous for young children.

“If you have children aged two, three or four, or in school years one and two, don’t put off taking up their free flu vaccination,” he said. 

“The nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way for children to be protected without the need for injections. 

Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles.

The flu vaccination will help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others.

Anyone over the age of 65 or with an existing health problem should also make sure they get the flu jab as flu can make the effects of existing conditions worse and make complications like pneumonia more likely.”

Parents of children aged two, three or four should speak to their GP about getting the nasal spray vaccination for their child. 

The nasal spray vaccine is not licensed for children aged less than two years.  

However, if the extended programme in primary schools reduces the spread of flu, young children will benefit from the reduced risk of being exposed to older children with flu.

There is evidence that the primary school flu pilots last year had a positive impact on transmission of flu in the wider community.

For more information about the nasal spray vaccination and the flu jab visit www.nhs.uk/staywell ​