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Toddlers at risk of flu in Sutton, as only 40% of 2-3 years olds are protected against virus


Doctors in Sutton are urging parents to vaccinate their toddlers against the flu this winter, after figures revealed that only 40% of 2-3 year olds in the borough received the free flu vaccination last year – a figure significantly below national average*. Officials warn that young children are some of the worst affected by the virus and, if they get it, they're likely to infect other members of the family too.

Highly contagious, flu causes suffering and often serious illness to thousands in Sutton every winter. With symptoms for poorly toddlers including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, a stuffy nose, dry cough or sore throat, children are at even greater risk than adults of contracting the virus. Unfortunately, some children also go on to develop a very high fever or complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, and may require hospital treatment to feel better.

Dr Dino Pardhanani, local GP and Joint Clinical Director for NHS Sutton CCG said: "Every child between the ages of 2-10 is eligible for the free vaccination. It's never been so readily available, yet most parents in Sutton are still not heeding professional advice to protect their children. As a result, they are at risk of illness and their family members are also at risk of contracting flu."

"To tackle the spread of flu throughout the borough this winter, it's so important that parents get their children vaccinated. Those aged between 2-3 years old can be taken to their GP where, in most cases, they'll be able to receive a quick, free and painless nasal spray. And for school-age children, the vaccine is usually provided free of charge in schools."

Pregnant women, those with an underlying health condition and those aged 65 and over are also likely to suffer more than most if they contract flu, which is why the NHS is also offering free vaccinations to those who are eligible

Visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for more information on flu, the flu vaccine and where to get it.

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Further information:

*National average of flu vaccination uptake for 2 year olds is 43%, while the average figure for 3 year olds is 44%.