Thousands more children to be offered free flu vaccine

Millions of parents are being urged to get their children vaccinated against the flu. Credit: Susann Prautsch / DPA/PA Images

Four million youngsters in the UK will be offered immunisation against the flu this year - about 600,000 more than last year.

The vaccination campaign by NHS England and Public Health England is being rolled out to include more children this year in a bid to curb the spread of the illness.

Children aged two to four can get the vaccination from their GP.

Those in school Years 1, 2 and 3 will be offered the free nasal spray vaccination at school.

It is the first time those in Year 3 have been offered the immunisation.

Giving a child the nasal spray will immunise them against the virus while helping to protect the wider community, health officials said.

Millions of parents are being urged to take up the flu vaccination for their children.

Pregnant women, those aged 65 or over, residents of long-stay care homes, health and care workers and people with certain medical conditions are also being encouraged to get the jab.

Professor Paul Cosford, medical director at Public Health England, added: "Vaccination is the best protection we have against flu, which can cause severe illness and even death among those most at-risk.

"This group includes pregnant women, people with a long-term health condition and older people.

"I would encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to help protect themselves and those around them. It is important to get vaccinated every year. Flu is unpredictable and previous years' vaccinations may not protect you against the types of flu virus circulating this year."