Being a parent to a pre-schooler is never easy. They’re tricky customers at the best of times, plus social media can be a minefield of advice – some useful, some really not! If your child is two or three-years-old, one thing worth adding to your autumn to-do list is booking a flu vaccination with your GP.
The vaccination is free for this age group and given as a nasal spray – so no needles. Plus it’s the best protection against catching, what can be a really severe illness – around 11,000 people a year die from flu and many more are hospitalised.
For Merton mum Sarah, having her daughter Mary vaccinated was an easy decision to make. “I’m having Mary vaccinated against the flu because flu can be so serious,” she said. “Now we have this vaccination programme, with a vaccine that’s safe and free and simple, I’m first in line to have Mary vaccinated.”
Some parents have concerns about the flu vaccine – understandably, there are a lot of myths flying around social media. These range from fears that the vaccine can give children flu, to a belief that a healthy diet and good immune system are all the protection they need.
According to local GP, Dr Mohan Sekeram (AKA Doc Merton) it’s important to look at the facts. “If you’re concerned about the vaccine, please speak to your GP, practice nurse or visit a trusted source of information such as the NHS website. But just to be clear, children can’t catch the flu from the nasal spray vaccine – it doesn’t contain any live flu virus. And while a healthy diet is important for children’s immune systems, the vaccine is still the best protection against flu for your two or three-year-old.”
Now England is in lockdown, you may be concerned about taking your child along to your local surgery – or wondering if it’s even open. The NHS is keen to reassure patients that GP practices are very much here for you, with the necessary measures in place keep people safe – watch this video to find out more.
Contact your GP to book a flu jab for your child. Visit our NHS Merton flu site to find out more.
Written By: NHS South West London CCG – Merton & Wandsworth