28/09/2012

New Flu Vaccination For Children

All children in Northern Ireland will benefit from a new nasal flu vaccination which is due to be made available for young people by 2014.

Children and young people aged 2-17 years who are at risk of harm from the flu are being offered a nasal-spray vaccination which will eventually be offered to all children in Northern Ireland.

Dr Gerry Waldron from the Public Health Agency explained: "Everyone who receives an invitation to be vaccinated against flu should see it as a positive step in protecting their health and the health of others around them.

"The flu vaccine does not give you the flu. It is offered for the sole reason to protect at risk groups because if they get flu, they are more likely to have severe illness and/or develop complications such as pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.
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"Pregnant women are more likely to have serious illness if they catch flu, which is why they will be invited by their GP at all stages of pregnancy, to protect them and their unborn baby. Health and Social Care staff are also urged to get vaccinated, to protect themselves, their families and those they care for."

Health Minister Edwin Poots said: "Northern Ireland traditionally achieves a high uptake rate for the 'at risk' groups thanks to the hard work and dedication from all the staff involved in the vaccination programme across the Health and Social Care Trusts and also GPs and their staff.

"I would again urge everyone involved in the vaccination programme to try and build on this uptake rate to ensure as many of our most vulnerable citizens are protected against seasonal flu."

Clinics are offering the vaccine from 1 October.

(IT)

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