With the flu season in full swing many parents will be considering giving their child / children a flu vaccination to boost their protection against the virus. Flu shots are already given regularly to the elderly but like many parents, you’ll be wondering if it really is safe to have your young ones vaccinated.
No vaccine or drug is 100% safe for everyone. Some children with allergies can’t be immunised as eggs are involved in the manufacturing process. If this is the case then an alternative vaccine can be offered however this can vary from practice to practice and is subject to availability
All flu vaccines cause mild but common reactions. About a third of people get a sore arm from the jab, some with a little redness or even swelling. A fifth of people feel tired or get a headache; some may even get a mild fever. There are other more serious compilations that have been associated with the jab however these are VERY rare.
With the above taken into consideration, maybe the question should be: do the benefits of having my child vaccinated outweigh the risks.
The Flu vaccination (flu jab) should provide effective protection against the flu. However, protection may not always be complete, and the level of protection may vary depending on the individual.
The official line from the NHS (National Health Service) is that all children from the age of two to seventeen should also have an annual flu vaccine. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reported that there would be 2,000 fewer deaths from flu each year if just 30% of children had a flu jab. There would also be 11,000 fewer hospitalisations as a result.
A spokesperson from the JCVI said: “The biggest benefit will be protecting very young infants, older people and those in at risk groups such as those with asthma, multiple sclerosis or heart disease. The research suggests we could see, on average, as many as 11,000 fewer hospitalisations as a result of flu, and around 2,000 fewer deaths a year.”
We hope this article helped you make an informed decision on whether to give your child the flu jab, but please discuss this will your child’s Doctor or GP who will be able to take into account their medical history and any underlining conditions that he or she may have.