Parents in North East are urged to get free NHS flu vaccine for children as hospitalisations rise

Wed 04th January 2023


Parents and carers in the North East and Yorkshire are being urged to make sure their children are vaccinated if they are eligible for the flu vaccine.

Parents and carers of children aged two and three years, and of children in a high-risk group, can make an appointment through their GP surgery.

Parents of any reception and primary school-aged children up to year 6 who missed their flu vaccination should contact their local school-aged vaccination service.

This winter the flu vaccine is also being offered to secondary school children from years 7, 8 and 9, so parents should make sure they have sent back the consent form to allow their child to get the vaccine. Young children who can get a flu vaccination also include those aged six months to 17 years with long-term health conditions.

The NHS is continuing to see the impact of viruses circulating again post-pandemic. It comes as the latest winter data shows nationally the number of flu cases in hospital has risen seven-fold in just a month.

There were 3,746 patients a day in hospital with flu at the end of December, up from 520 a day one month earlier; by comparison, at the end of December 2021 there were only 34 patients in hospital with flu. Flu admissions were highest in the 85 years-and-over and under-five-year-olds age groups by mid-December.

Dr Kev Smith, Regional Director of Public Health Commissioning at NHS North East and Yorkshire, says it’s not too late for children to get the flu vaccine.

“The flu vaccine can protect young children from getting seriously ill and ending up in hospital,” he said. “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.”

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