The flu vaccine has been extended to cover children aged four for the first time, as the seasonal flu campaign was launched on October 6.
The campaign targets parents of children aged between two and four, vulnerable groups of people with a health condition and pregnant women. The vaccine has been eligible for two-and-three-year-olds since 2013
Nearly half of mums (48 per cent) are unaware that there is now nasal spray vaccine and uptake was around 40 per cent in two- to three-year-olds in the 2013-2014 season.
Professor Viv Bennett, Public Health England's director of nursing, said: 'Nurses from across the sector have significant influencing and health protection roles to play. Recognising the importance of everyone in our profession having the flu vaccine and leading by example can help reinforce the benefits of immunisation and reassure people that it is safe and effective. Vaccination of nurses and health care assistants against flu will help ensure vital nursing care in hospitals, care homes and communities can be delivered sustainably through the winter. Flu can kill and encouraging and providing immunisation for to high risk patients saves lives.'
Professor Dame Sally Davies Chief Medical Officer, said: 'Flu is an unpleasant illness, particularly for the most vulnerable patients and it is essential that people take steps to protect themselves during the winter months. I would urge those who are offered the free flu vaccination to visit their GP early in the flu season. I also urge all healthcare workers to make sure they are vaccinated to protect themselves, their patients and their families.'
A number of charities have expressed the importance of the flu vaccine for those with long-term conditions or underlying health problems.
'Despite heart patients and other vulnerable groups being offered the flu jab as a matter of routine, many people don't get their vaccination,' said Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation.
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: 'For those with a long-term health condition, such as COPD, [flu] can be much more serious, causing their symptoms to worsen and increasing their chances of getting pneumonia.'