Wandsworth toddler gets his first flu vaccination as local doctors call on parents to protect their children this winter
Smiling three-year-old Rahul Dhir got his first flu vaccination at Elborough Street Surgery in Wandsworth today and declared it 'fine' as local doctors urged parents in the borough to get their toddlers vaccinated this winter.
For most 2-3 year-olds the flu vaccination is a quick and easy free nasal spray given by their doctor or practice nurse so there's no needles involved.
Accompanied by mum Kiran, Rahul got vaccinated by practice nurse Jane Noon.
Highly contagious, flu causes serious illness to thousands in Wandsworth every winter. Little children are some of the worst affected and, if they get it, they're likely to infect other members of the family too.
In the worst cases children can develop a very high fever or complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, and may require hospital treatment.
Doctors are calling on parents to get their toddlers protected as figures reveal only 39% of 2-3 year olds in Wandsworth received the free flu vaccination last year – a figure significantly below national average*.
Rahul's mum Kiran from Southfields said:
"Rahul wasn't bothered by having the nasal spray at all – it was really quick and simple and there's no needles so it's not painful or scary. I wanted to make sure he got it as I know flu can be really serious for young children."
Dr Nicola Jones, a local GP and Chair of NHS Wandsworth CCG said:
"Well done to Rahul and his mum and dad for getting him vaccinated - it's so important. We're encouraging all parents of 2-3 year-olds like Rahul to speak to their GP practice about getting the nasal spray.
"Only 39% of toddlers were vaccinated in Wandsworth last year and that's a concern. If parents don't get their children vaccinated then many toddlers in Wandsworth are at risk of becoming ill with the flu."
The nasal spray is for toddlers who were aged two and three on August 31 2018 – that is
children born between September 1 2014 and August 31 2016.
For school-age children from reception class to year 5, the vaccine is usually provided free of charge in schools.
Pregnant women, those with an underlying health condition and those aged 65 and over are also eligible for a free flu jab.
Wandsworth Council health spokesman Cllr Paul Ellis said: "As well as young children, it's important that the over-65s, people with long-term conditions like diabetes or respiratory illnesses, and people who care for others get themselves inoculated against what can be a nasty virus. It's quick and easy to get a jab and it's one of the best ways to keep yourself well this winter."
Visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for more information on flu, the flu vaccine and where to get it.