NHS says Swindon toddlers should have winter flu jab

By Barrie Hudson - 23 November 2022


Fewer than half of toddlers in and around Swindon and Wiltshire are protected against the winter flu virus.

NHS bosses say only 40 per cent of two and three-year-olds in the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire area are protected against the potentially-dangerous bug.

Parents of young children are being urged to bring their children forward to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.

In Swindon alone, only 37 per cent of two and three-year-olds are protected against flu, with the numbers only marginally better in Wiltshire (45 per cent) and Bath and North East Somerset (43 per cent).

The flu vaccine for two and three-year-olds is given as a pain-free nasal spray, and can be obtained at most GP practices and community pharmacies.

Gill May, Chief Nurse, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “It is massively important that we look out for the youngest members of our communities, not only for their own wellbeing but also to prevent them from passing on their illnesses to others.

“This year’s flu season is expected to be particularly challenging, especially for very young children, many of whom will not have built up any natural immunity, following the national lockdowns that prevented families and friends from mixing.

“The child flu vaccine is the best form of protection against this nasty seasonal illness, which can cause some very real problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and is so much more than the average winter cold.”

All children aged two or three are eligible to have the flu vaccine at no charge.

Older children, such as those in primary and secondary education, are also eligible for a free flu vaccine and, in most cases, these vaccinations will be given during school time.

Although very young children cannot have the covid vaccine, all those aged five and over are encouraged to do so.

Parents can arrange to have their child vaccinated against covid at a range of venues across the region, including Steam in Swindon.

Many GP practices and community pharmacies also offer a covid vaccination service.

Appointments can be booked via www.nhs.uk or over the phone by calling 119. More information about vaccinations against both covid and flu can be found at www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk


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