Children fall behind in flu vaccines
RATES of children’s flu vaccine uptake in Halton were lower than average for England, with just over a third of eligible youngsters receiving the preventative treatment.
Figures published by Public Health England showed that vaccination was lowest among sixseven year olds – at 33.6%, – followed by 36.9% in the seven to eight-year-old range and 37.3% for those aged between five and six years.
In total, 4,562 children were eligible during the September- November period.
Average vaccination rates for England were 44.4% for five to six-yearolds, 42.4% for six to seven, and 40.5% for seven to eight.
The NHS offers an annual flu vaccine to children in the form of a nasal spray, but those who cannot have the spray because of allergy, severely weakened immune system or asthma might be able to have a jab instead.
Vaccinations were car- ried out in schools, pharmacies and GP surgeries.
In 2016-17, eligible groups were: children who were aged two, three and four on August 31, 2016; children in school years one, two and three; in some parts of the country all primary-schoolaged children will be offered the vaccine as part of a test programme; and children aged two to 17 with long-term health conditions.
Public Health England’s figures were provisional and could be amended when they are revised.
NHS advice has said that flu causes the same symptoms in children as for adults and can lead to hospital treatment and very occasionally a child may die.
The condition can be more dangerous for high risk groups such as those with long-term health conditions.
Vaccines contain a weakened form of the flu virus that builds immunity without infection.
Most children only require a single dose. ●
Flu vaccination is now offered to children and other vulnerable groups