The Health Service Executive (HSE) is recommending the use of the nasal spray flu vaccine in children.
Stating that children are twice as likely to get the flu as adults are, the HSE has urged parents to sign their children up for the nasal spray.
The HSE has also stated that the flu vaccine and administration is free for everyone aged 2-17 years old through the health service’s vaccination programme.
Between the years 2009 and 2019, 4,750 children required hospital treatment due to complications associated with the flu.
According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), 183 of these children were admitted to ICU, while 41 had died.
It has been noted by the HSE that while most children will develop mild symptoms, some may develop complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Specialist in Public Health Medicine and Flu Lead at the HSE National Immunisation Office Dr. Aparna Keegan stated, “Flu is a serious illness that can be dangerous in children too,”.
She added, “The nasal spray flu vaccine is a very safe and effective vaccine and helps your child’s immune system produce antibodies that fight infection. It cannot give your child the flu. If your child has had the flu vaccine and they come into contact with flu virus, these antibodies will help them fight the flu and reduce the risk of getting sick or needing to go to hospital.”
“The nasal flu vaccine is also the recommended vaccine for children who may have chronic health conditions. We recommend speaking to a trusted health professional about the flu vaccine recommended for your child. If it’s not possible for them to get the nasal flu vaccine, they can get the flu injection instead”.
IMAGE – Twitter/paulreiddublin