Posted: Mon 11th Sep 2023

Public Health Wales: Children’s flu jab push ahead of winter

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Sep 11th, 2023

Public Health Wales has issued a timely reminder, urging parents to vaccinate their young children against flu this season.

The plea comes after nearly 800 children in Wales aged between 2-16 were hospitalised due to the flu in the previous year.

The prolonged periods of reduced social mixing between 2020 and 2022 means many children might not have been exposed to the flu virus, making them especially susceptible this year.

Young children, notorious for catching and spreading the flu quickly, not only face the illness’s uncomfortable symptoms but also run the risk of secondary infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.

The focus isn’t just on children’s well-being. Vaccinating them is a safeguard for older family members, the broader community, and an already strained NHS.

In addition to the youngsters, school-aged children will also be presented with the opportunity for a flu jab. An annual flu vaccine is crucial due to the rapid mutation of flu viruses.

The spectre of Covid-19, another respiratory illness that peaks in winter, complicates matters.

As Dr Christopher Johnson, Head of Public Health Wales’ Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme, notes, “Flu can be serious.”

He elaborates on the importance of both the annual flu vaccine and the COVID-19 autumn booster, which will soon be available for everyone above 65 years old. Vaccination remains the primary defense against these illnesses, significantly reducing the risk of severe symptoms and transmission.

A Public Health Wales campaign titled “putting on your winter coat” has been rolled out, encouraging citizens to get vaccinated — an extra protective layer for the colder months.

GPs and Health Boards are taking a proactive role, reaching out to eligible individuals with all necessary vaccination details.

Timely action is advocated; as soon as the call comes, people are advised to step forward and get their jab.

Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan, reinforced the significance of vaccination, especially in the face of the new Omicron variant (BA.2.86).

She emphasised that both young and old are at considerable risk from respiratory illnesses. Encouraging the public to heed the advice and get vaccinated, she stated, “Vaccination is one of the most important actions we can take for our own health.”

 

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