People are being urged to have their flu and Covid-19 jabs, as an increasing number of children and adults are admitted to intensive care in the south west with flu.
The number of people admitted to hospital with flu in England has risen by 40% in the last week, as cases in the community rise.
NHS Devon’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nigel Acheson said: “In the last week here in the south west, there’s been a steep rise in people admitted to hospital with flu and sadly there has also a steep rise in both adults and children in intensive care units with flu.
“In England last year there were 12 children hospitalised with flu at this stage of the year. This year it’s 230 under fives, So if you or your children are eligible, we really urge you to take up the invitation to have the flu jab.”
There is plenty of flu vaccine available and it is a good match for the strain currently circulating in the community.
Parents are being particularly encouraged to have their two and three year olds vaccinated when invited by their GP practice. The influenza vaccination for children is a quick and painless nasal spray that is safe and effective against the flu virus. Flu can be an unpleasant illness for children, but it can also lead to very serious complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Vaccination offers the best protection against this risk by enabling children to build immunity against flu.
Children in primary school will be offered a free flu vaccine at their school or a community clinic. Parents should look out for their child’s consent form in their bookbag or by email from their school, so they can complete it and return it. If their child missed a clinic, they can contact the school immunisation provider on 0300 247 0082 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other people who are eligible include unpaid carers, people who have lower immunity because they are pregnant or have a long term condition, people with a learning disability, frontline health and care staff and those aged over 50.
Any adult who is eligible can find a nearby pharmacy offering the NHS flu vaccine online.
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