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Protect your family from flu this winter

08/11/2017

Parents of children aged two and three are being reminded that they can help protect their little ones from flu this winter with one simple free nasal spray available from their GP.

Anyone aged over 65 or with an existing long term serious health problem is also eligible for a free flu jab.

Merton children aged two and three, alongside children in the reception class and in school years 1, 2, 3 and 4 will all be offered a free nasal spray vaccination this year.

Parents of pre-school children are being contacted by their GP Practice while the older children have been offered the vaccine at school. Nurses are currently visiting Merton’s primary schools.

Merton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Merton Council are working together to support this year’s Stay Well This Winter campaign, led by NHS England and Public Health England, which aims to encourage anyone eligible for a free flu jab to get vaccinated.

The flu virus spreads easily and quickly, infecting both adults and children alike. This can lead to days spent in bed rather than being at work or school, causing considerable inconvenience for the whole family, not to mention putting more vulnerable family members at risk.

You are eligible to receive a free flu jab on the NHS if you:

  • are 65 years of age or over
  • are pregnant
  • have certain medical conditions (such as a serious heart or chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, diabetes or lowered immunity due to disease or treatment such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
  • are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

The flu vaccine is free on the NHS for children:

  • over the age of six months with a long-term health condition
  • aged two and three on 31 August 2017 – that is, born between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2015
  • in reception class and school years one, two, three and four

If you think you or your child needs a flu vaccination, check with your GP, practice nurse or local pharmacist. They will be happy to help.

For more information about the nasal spray vaccination and the flu jab visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

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