Wandsworth parents – has your little one had their flu vaccine?

Are you a mum, dad or carer to a two or three-year-old? It’s time to book their annual flu vaccination.

Already had your little one vaccinated? No need to read on.

If you haven’t, you might be wondering whether to bother; whether it’s safe, whether flu is all that bad and whether it involves needles.

Let’s look at the facts

The first thing to remember is that flu is a nasty illness – far removed from a bad cold. More than 11,000 people across the UK die each year from flu, and thousands more are hospitalised.

For children as young as yours, the flu virus can be a big deal. Not only are children this age super-spreaders, sharing the virus around even if they have no symptoms. They are also susceptible to severe illness themselves.

As Sarah, mum to Mary, said: “I’m having Mary vaccinated against the flu because flu can be so serious. Now we have this vaccination programme, with a vaccine that’s safe and free and simple, I’m first in line to have Mary vaccinated.”

How you do it

If you’re a first-time parent of a pre-schooler, you might not realise that the flu vaccine for young children is given as a nasal spray – so NO NEEDLES. It’s also free and easy to book through your GP practice – older children get theirs at school.

Don’t believe the myths

Caring for a young child is rarely a breeze. You’re bombarded with advice from books, parenting ‘experts’, social media… It’s not always easy to know what to think, especially if you’ve read some of the claims about the flu vaccine, circulating right now.

If you’ve heard something that’s making you anxious about the flu vaccine, please talk to your GP or visit a trusted source such as the NHS website.

For example, people might tell you that the vaccine could give your child flu. This is a myth – there is no live virus in the vaccine to infect your child with flu.

They might also tell you that it’s safer to do things the natural way – by boosting your child’s immune system with plenty of vitamin C. While we’d agree that a healthy diet is important for your child, there’s no evidence that certain nutrients can protect against the flu – the vaccine, on the other hand, really can.

Now England has entered lockdown, we know you might be concerned about taking your child along to you GP surgery, in case they become infected with Covid-19 or another illness – please don’t be. Your practice is open and has put all necessary measures in place to protect your little one – watch this video to find out more about what you might expect.

Do it today

According to Sarah: “If you’re worried about the vaccination, I’d ask you ‘why?’. If it’s because of something you’ve read on social media, I’d say be careful. We live in an age of false truths – speak to someone who knows, and cares, about your child, like a GP.

“The evidence is so clear on this; flu is serious so make that appointment. I’d say do it today!”