Overview on Flu Vaccine
So the children’s flu vaccine was 87% effective against the main circulating strain of flu last year and that’s incredible data from public health England but what does it mean? does it mean that more children were protected against flu and it’s potentially serious side effects.
yes, so if the children’s flu vaccine is so good then why was the uptake so low and Bradford last year?
Well let’s find out now we’ve looked at the most recent data for 2018 and 2019 nationally 44.9% of children aged 2 to 3 years received a flu vaccine last winter in the Bradford district. This was only 29.9% and four children in reception to year four nationally 60.8% of children received the flu vaccine. Once again in Bradford district this was only 44.7% so our uptake in Bradford is considerably below the national level.
So why was the uptake so low in Bradford last year well the good news is that Bradford Council have done some extensive research into this and to help me address. The issue I’ve got some help from a good friend of mine and fellow Bradfordian. Now you’ll most likely know him from a popular TV show called GPs behind closed doors his name is Dr Amir Khan and I’ve come to his surgery to find out more so Amir as you know I like to keep things simple and that’s were gonna try and do in this week’s video.
So the first question I have that many parents have is why does my child need to be vaccinated against the flu children should definitely be vaccinated against the flu. It’s a really serious condition if you’ve ever had it as an adult you wouldn’t wish it on a child. They can become really unwell with temperatures fevers chills tummy ache, sore throat dry, cough and it can last for up to a week and make them very very unwell and the best way to avoid any of that is to get vaccinated.
Exactly vaccination is critical and also I think that unless you’ve actually experienced flu firsthand you won’t realize how much of a serious health condition it is a lot of the times. It’s thought of as maybe a minor health condition absolutely people who haven’t had flu think of it as a bad cold but it’s so much more than that. It affects every part of your body and makes you feel really unwell.
Now imagine that in a child and that’s why these sort of campaigns are so important to make more people aware of the devastating consequences of flu.
The flu vaccine is the only protection we have against the flu and the data is incredible last year the children’s flu vaccine was 87% affective against the main circulating strain of flu.
Yes flu can be devastating for children in fact healthy children under the age of five are at highest risk of hospitalization because of flu and it can lead to all sorts of complications. Pneumonia, bronchitis and severe ear infections and unfortunately in some cases it can be fatal the only protection. We have against it is the flu vaccine. so who’s included well there’s all children aged 2 and 3 on the 31st of August 2019 all primary school children and all children aged 2 to 17 years of age with long-term health conditions.
I’ll also leave more information about this in the description below for you now generally speaking all primary school children will be given the nasal flu vaccine at school. Once the consent form has been filled out approved and handed back by yourself the parents.
When the flu strikes, the following will help you get better:
- Warm clear fluids (no milk as it thickens mucus and worsens symptoms)
- Chicken soup (loosens up mucus)
- Expectorant (i.e. Robitussin, Mucinex)*
- Fever reducing agents (i.e. Tylenol, Motrin, or Advil)*
- Saline nasal drops (relieve congestion)
- Antiviral medications prescribed by your health care provider
- Possibly antibiotics
Contact your health care provider to get safe dosing instructions for children
What is the children’s nasal flu vaccine?
let’s find out a little more about it so to find out more I’ve come to my very own School of Pharmacy in the University of Bradford to speak to Dr Katherine Hickman who is the respiratory lead for Bradford and Leeds CCGs so Katherine tell me a little about the nasal flu vaccine is it one spray is it two sprays and most importantly does it hurt.
okay so the nasal flu vaccine is given via a spray and it’s one squirt up each nostril the great thing about it is that no needles are involved it’s really good for kids it’s completely painless. All they will feel is a little tickle up the nostril. It’s really quick to give and in fact it works better than the injectable vaccine.
That’s great news so it’s quick its painless and it’s easy to give but another concern that many parents have when it comes to any medicine is the safety and the side effects.
What should we know about the flu vaccine?
So the nasal flu vaccine has a really good side effect profile and in the UK alone millions of children have received the vaccine both safely and successfully but as with any vaccine there are some potential side effects and some children will get some side effects. They tend to be mild and self-limiting and include things like a runny or block nose, headache, general tiredness or a loss of appetite. Well that’s great news but when it comes to the immune system. It is very complicated and to be honest I really don’t miss it from pharmacy school. One thing that parents also ask about when it comes to vaccinations is my child going to lose their natural ability to fight off the flu in the future and also when my child becomes an adult and they grow up.
Are they gonna need this vaccine all the time every single year so just because you’ve had the vaccine when you’re a child if you grow up to be a healthy adult that does not mean that you’re gonna have to have the flu vaccine.
Every year because you will have a healthy immune system that will fight the flu virus naturally so as long as you’re not in the risk group. When you’re an adult you’re not gonna need it every single year it’s not going to weaken your immune system or anything like that.
Exactly so the nasal flu vaccine contains a live flu virus but a weakened version which helps children to build up their immunity just as it would do if they had the natural infection but without all the nasty symptoms from the flu the general flu viruses change every year.
Hence, why you need a different nasal flu vaccine each year? Just like you do with the injectable flu vaccine. Well that all makes sense Katherine.
Thank you so much for your time.
Now the decision to let your child have the flu vaccine is still.
Of course you will receive a consent letter from your child’s school. which will have to return back and if your child is in preschool your GP surgery will be in touch and also just a very important point about the consent form. When you’re filling it out please fill it out fully and accurately because if any information is missing from it your child won’t be able to have the flu vaccine.
Now this became a big issue last year where a lot of children were coming for the flu vaccine but because the form wasn’t filled out completely or there was information missing. They couldn’t receive it.
I really hope you enjoyed this week’s article and recognise the importance of the children’s flu vaccine hopefully this year we’ll have a much higher number for both Bradford and nationally always.