Barnsley parents encouraged to vaccinate toddlers against flu to avoid serious illness

Health partners in Barnsley are encouraging parents and carers of 2–3-year-olds to get their children vaccinated against flu as those under the age of 5 are most likely to be hospitalised with the virus. Flu vaccination for children is given as a quick, easy, pain-free nasal spray.

Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for children, with those under the age of 5 being more likely to be hospitalised due to flu than any other age group. Also, as children spread viruses more easily, vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies and older people.

Julia Burrows, Barnsley Council’s Executive Director of Public Health and Communities, said: “Having a flu vaccine is the best protection against flu this winter so I strongly urge every parent in Barnsley to get their 2-3-year-old vaccinated.

“Flu isn't the same as the common cold. It’s caused by a different group of viruses and the symptoms tend to start more suddenly, be more severe and last longer. It can be really horrible for young children, and can lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia which are likely to lead to hospitalisation. 

“It is also really important we vaccinate our children so that they don’t pass it on to others who are more vulnerable, such as their grandparents or baby brothers or sisters.”

The flu vaccination is the best way to prevent your child from getting ill this flu season, or spreading the virus.

Dr Madhavi Guntamukkala, local GP and Barnsley’s Medical Director at NHS South Yorkshire, said: “The vaccine is given to children as a spray squirted up each nostril. The nasal spray flu vaccine is safe and effective and it's quick and painless. Any child who catches flu after vaccination is less likely to be seriously ill or be admitted to hospital.”

“The flu vaccine does not cause flu in children, but some may have minor side effects afterwards, such as a blocked nose, headache or tiredness. Side effects are mild. However after being vaccinated, your child is less likely to get flu, and if they do, it will be a milder illness.”

Your GP will contact you with an appointment to have your 2–3-year-old child vaccinated. If you have any concerns or questions, please speak to your child’s GP or nurse.

If you’ve previously declined the vaccine for your child but now want it, it’s not too late, please contact your GP to arrange it.

Children aged between 6 months and 17 years who have a long-term condition will be invited to their GP practice to have their vaccination. Children without long-term conditions in school years reception to year 6, and some secondary school children, will be given the flu vaccination at school.

For more information on the vaccination for children, please visit

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