Public Health England (PHE) has urged the parents of young children to ensure that they are vaccinated against influenza, as the UK prepares to enter flu season.
Those aged 65 and over, children and adults with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women are also urged to get their free vaccine in the next few weeks, before flu begins to circulate widely.
‘The flu vaccine is the best defence we have against what can be a serious and fatal illness, and flu season is just around the corner,’ said Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE. ‘If you are in an eligible group, visit your GP or pharmacist as soon possible to ensure you are protected.’
The primary schools-based flu vaccination programme is once again underway. This follows a temporary shortage of the nasal vaccine, which was caused by delays from the manufacturer.
Primary school clinics will be rescheduled as soon as possible and children in high risk groups should visit their GP if their school session has been delayed, to ensure that they are protected early. GPs have now been advised to call in all eligible children for vaccination by early December.
‘Influenza can be a very unpleasant illness, and while it is not generally a serious illness for most people, for those in at-risk groups, such as young children, elderly people, those with long-term conditions and pregnant women, flu has the potential to trigger life-threatening complications,’ said Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs.
‘The best defence against the flu is to be vaccinated and we strongly urge all patients in at-risk groups to get vaccinated and for parents to ensure their young children receive their vaccine as soon as possible.’