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Covid threat: Plea by Tower Hamlets GPs for children to get NHS winter flu vaccines

PUBLISHED: 12:04 12 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:39 12 October 2020

Vaccination campaign ready for winter flu. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Vaccination campaign ready for winter flu. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

Two out of every three toddlers missed out on getting their flu jabs in the East End just as the Coronavirus pandemic broke out, Tower Hamlets NHS has revealed.

Nothing to it... one mum gets child vaccinated from nurse Claris Quartey-Eapafio. Picture: NHSNothing to it... one mum gets child vaccinated from nurse Claris Quartey-Eapafio. Picture: NHS

Now GPs are urging parents to get children vaccinated as winter approaches, especially with the threat of Covid.

Youngsters are more likely to get flu at nursery or school without being inoculated and then spread it rapidly to others, they warn.

“It’s vital in this unprecedented year that parents get children vaccinated,” Tower Hamlets GPs’ Clinical Commissioning group chair Sir Sam Everington said.

“Children spread it easily and vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable to flu.

Tower Hamlets GPs' group chairman Sir Sam Everington... Tower Hamlets GPs' group chairman Sir Sam Everington... "It's vital in this unprecedented year that parents get children vaccinated." Picture: Mike Brooke

“The risk of developing complications are greater for those at risk and especially if they get flu and coronavirus at the same time.”

Only 30 per cent of toddlers aged two and three registered with Tower Hamlets GPs had their free flu vaccines last winter and only half of those eligible at all other ages.

The shock figures put a risk on babies and the elderly, so GPs and the town hall are stepping up their annual immunisation campaign to ease pressure on the NHS this winter.

Mayor John Biggs said: “This has been anything but an average year, so it’s even more important for those at risk to get their flu jab to protect as many people as possible and ease the pressure on the NHS this coming winter.”

Nasal sprays are available free from GP surgeries for toddlers and for children from Reception to Year-6, all Year-7 in secondary school and those aged two to 17 with long-term health conditions.

Jabs are available for pregnant women from their midwife and for all pupils from their schools.

Those at higher risk from coronavirus are also more at risk if they get the flu, doctors warn. The vaccine is safe whether people have had flu or Covid previously, they assure.

Free vaccines are available from surgeries and chemists for those aged 65 and over, or reaching their 65th birthday by next March 31, as well as frontline health or social care workers, anyone in long-stay residential care, those receiving carers’ allowance or being a main carer and anyone living with someone at high risk from coronavirus.

Others eligible include those with asthma who need inhalers or tablets, anyone with diabetes, emphysema, bronchitis or heart conditions, those very overweight or patients with kidney or liver disease, Parkinson’s, motor neurone, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy, sickle cell, HIV or Aids, anyone taking steroid tablets or having chemotherapy or those with learning disability.


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