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Alternative flu vaccine for children now available

There is now an alternative flu vaccine available for children whose parents decline the flu nasal spray due to its porcine gelatine content.

Dr Asif Ali, a local GP from Berkshire, talks about the ‘alternative vaccine’ that is now available and why it’s important to protect your child against flu this winter.

He said: “Flu can be very unpleasant in children, causing symptoms such chills, aching muscles, a headache, a stuffy nose, a dry cough and a sore throat. Some may develop a very high temperature or complications of flu, such as bronchitis, pneumonia or a painful ear infection.

“The flu vaccination provides important protection to individual children and helps to reduce the spread of flu to their friends, families and the wider community, protecting younger siblings, grandparents and others who are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from flu.

“This year, in addition to the flu nasal spray vaccine which is offered to thousands of children nationally, an alternative flu vaccination in the form of an injection is available for children whose parents have declined the nasal spray due to some of its content, mainly gelatine.

“Speak to your GP practice if your child is aged 2 or 3 or your child is aged 2 to 17 years with a long-term health condition that puts them in an ‘at risk’ group for flu. However, if your child is aged 4 to 12 years, then please contact your school’s immunisation team. Please note that in all cases, the ‘alternative vaccine’ will be subject to availability.

“I’d like to reassure parents, carers and children that the delivery of this year’s flu programme is being carried out safely in light of Covid-19, with measures in place.”

Frimley Health and Care