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More than half a million more children will be offered the flu vaccine this year as part of a major campaign to help children and the vulnerable stay well over the winter months.

Yeovil Hospital is backing the campaign in the South West with short films on social media aimed at parents and expectant mothers. Through the films, Paediatric Consultant Dr Merry Kane calls for parents of children aged two to seven to take up the offer of free protection against the flu via a nasal spray, and Midwife Hollie King emphasises the importance of the vaccine for expectant mothers.

Dr Kane said: “Flu can be much more dangerous than parents realise and, as well as offering protection to these young children, it will help reduce the spread of flu to the most vulnerable in the community, particularly younger children, the elderly and those with long-term medical conditions.

“Children are most likely to spread flu to others, so targeting them helps protect the wider community too. So, please ensure any children in your care are vaccinated. If you haven’t been offered the vaccine, either via a letter or through your child’s school, please contact your GP surgery.”

The programme will be extended gradually to older age groups in primary school in future years.

Hollie King, a midwife at Yeovil Hospital, added: “The vaccine cannot give you flu but offers great protection as it protects both the mum and unborn child against the effects of flu, and continues to protect the baby up to six months after its birth.

“Flu is not just a cold but a very contagious respiratory virus and when you are pregnant your immunity is weakened. This time of year, every pregnant woman is eligible for the vaccine. For more details I would encourage women to ask their midwife or call their GP surgery.”

It is estimated that several million people get flu each winter, leading to more than 2,000 NHS intensive care admissions recorded across the UK last year.

Flu can be particularly dangerous for those with long-term health conditions, like respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis or emphysema, diabetes; heart, kidney or liver disease; and chronic neurological diseases, like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. People with these conditions are eligible for vaccination because if they get flu, it is more likely to develop into a serious illness, which could result in admission to hospital.

Take a look at these YouTube films from staff at Yeovil Hospital:

Dr Merry Kane

Hollie King (Midwife)



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