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Children's health

18th Oct 2021

HSE urges parents to get free flu vaccine for their children

Kat O'Connor

The vaccine is free for children aged between 2 and 17.

The HSE is urging parents to get their children vaccinated against the flu this winter.

Children’s hospitals are already experiencing a surge in seasonal viruses. The health service advised parents to avail of the free nasal spray flu vaccine if their children are aged between 2 and 17.

The vaccine is available at participating pharmacies and your GP.

Children are twice as likely to get the flu compared to adults.

According to the HSE, children are also more likely than adults to get severe complications of flu.

Their best defense is the vaccine.

The jab is given as a single spray in each nostril of your child’s nose.

They will not experience any pain when being vaccinated. It is inhaled normally and absorbed quickly.

Most children only need one dose. Children (aged 2-8) may need two doses if they have chronic heart or lung conditions and if they’ve never been vaccinated.

The doses are given 4 weeks apart.

Some children will experience side effects from the flu vaccine but they are often mild and don’t last long.

Side effects include a runny/blocked nose, a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, and muscle aches.

Some will experience a mild fever.

Not only will the flu vaccine protect your children from the flu virus, but it will also help prevent the spread.

The majority of children who are infected with the flu will experience mild symptoms.

Others may suffer severe complications including pneumonia, bronchitis. In rare cases, some children will experience inflammation of the brain.

Some children will need to receive treatment in hospital.

The HSE urged parents to be aware of anti-vaccine stories online. These stories are often not based on scientific evidence and could endanger your child and put them at risk of serious illness.