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Reading parents encouraged to get their young children vaccinated against flu this winter

Reading parents encouraged to get their young children  vaccinated against flu this winter

The annual fight against flu is underway and parents in Reading are encouraged to get their young children vaccinated against the virus.

Children aged two, three or four, or in school years one and two, are all eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS.

The child-friendly nasal spray vaccination means children can avoid having the dreaded injection and instead have a quick, painless squirt into each nostril.

In Reading, children aged two to four years old can visit their GP for the nasal spray vaccination; while school nurses are running clinics for children in years one and two.

Dr Andy Ciecierski, Clinical Chair for North and West Reading CCG and GP at Emmer Green Surgery said: “The nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way for children to be protected without the need for injections.

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

Paula Jackson, Consultant in Public Health, NHS England South (South Central) said: “This year is the first time that all our youngest primary school children are eligible for the free nasal spray vaccine making this the largest school-based vaccination programme in England involving more than 23,000 children in Berkshire.

“It is important to protect young children from flu. It can be a very unpleasant illness in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults, including fever, chills and aching muscles. Vaccinating young children also helps to protect other people who are vulnerable to flu, like older people and people with long-term health conditions, because it reduces the chance of spreading the virus.”

Mother of two, Sarah Rayfield booked an appointment for her three-year-old son Joseph, and daughter Olivia, aged 4, at her local GP surgery.

She said: “I wanted Joseph and Olivia to have the flu vaccine to protect them and prevent them from getting poorly, but also to help prevent it from being spread around. We have lots of elderly relatives and I didn’t want the risk of them having an illness and then spreading it on to somebody else.”

“It’s so straightforward and easy; it’s not any problem for them to have it done.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

  • If you would like to interview Dr Andy Ciecierski, please contact Kulbir Sandhu on 07785 338845 /
  • If you would like to interview Paula Jackson, Consultant in Public Health, NHS England, please contact Natalie McEwan, Communications and Engagement Manager:  / 01138248150
  • Public Health England (PHE) is aiming for between 40 and 60 per cent uptake among children aged 2, 3 and 4 and in school years one and two.
  • Local stats for the number of school children in years one and two eligible for the flu vaccination are as follows:
Area  Number of schools  Number of 5 and 6 year olds*
Bracknell Forest 34 3100
Reading 42 3900
Slough  32 4700 
West Berkshire 67 4000 
Windsor and Maidenhead 55 3700
Wokingham 47 4300
Total 277 23800 

 *rounded to nearest 1000

  • In 2015/16, the following groups are eligible to receive the flu vaccination: 

• those aged 65 years and over 

• those aged six months to under 65 in clinical risk groups 

• pregnant women 

• all two, three and four-year-olds (on 31 August 2015)

• all children of school years 1 and 2 age: 

o Year 1 school age: 5 year olds, rising to 6 year olds (i.e date of birth between 1 September 2009 and on or before 31 August 2010)

o Year 2 school age: 6 year olds, rising to 7 years olds (i.e date of birth between 1 September 2008 and on or before 31 August 2009)

• those in long-stay residential care homes 

• carers.

  • Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for planning, designing and paying for NHS services. This includes planned and emergency hospital care, rehabilitation, most community services and mental health and learning disability services. Working with NHS England, this now includes planning GP services.
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