Aussie flu outbreak means more jabs for children

Flu jabs are being made available for longer than usual after the recent outbreak

MORE flu jabs are being made available in Swindon and Wiltshire because of the recent outbreak of what has become known as Aussie flu.

One of the strains this year – H3N2 – was nicknamed Aussie flu because Australia’s 2017 flu season was the worst the country had had in nearly a decade.

Aussie flu is an influenza A virus which seems to cause more severe infections in young children and the elderly.

Most will recover in about a week and won’t need specific treatment, apart from time in bed, some paracetamol or ibuprofen and lots of fluids.

But for the very old, very young or those with pre-existing health conditions, such as heart disease, flu can be fatal.

Now parents at many schools in Swindon and Wiltshire have been told they can get their children vaccinated, even if they turned down the chance last year.

Several schools have sent a message to parents saying: “In view of the increased cases of flu this year, NHS England have taken the decision to extend the vaccination programme and make more vaccine available.

“Therefore, there will be unexpected extended opportunities for your child to be vaccinated in community clinics; this is for those who have not already been vaccinated and are in the eligible cohort Year R, 1, 2, 3 or 4.

“This is regardless of whether you filled in a negative consent form in the first instance.

“If you would like to take up this opportunity please contact the immunisation team on 0333 234 1125 to book into a community clinic.

“Please note that this will be offered in first come/first serve basis until vaccine has run out, therefore early contact is advised.”

Professor Paul Cosford, Medical Director of Public Health England, said last month: “The vaccine is the best defence we have against the spread of flu and it isn’t too late to get vaccinated.”

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