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24 September 2013, 05:23
Over 10,000 primary school children in Gateshead will be offered the flu vaccine for the first time as part of a new pilot scheme.
Gateshead's one of seven areas across the country where healthy children will receive the nasal spray flu vaccine over the coming months and over 60 primary schools in Gateshead are taking part.
The vaccine will not only protect healthy children from flu, but will also help to reduce the spread of flu and protect many others, such as younger siblings, grandparents and those who are at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill from flu.
Dr Tricia Cresswell, consultant in health protection for Public Health England, said:
"Flu is not just a cold - it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn't just affect older people.
Healthy children are still susceptible to flu and its associated complications, such as pneumonia.
Flu is highly contagious and children can also pass on the virus to those who are at risk of becoming more seriously ill from flu, such as pregnant women, over 65s and those with a long term health condition."
Children aged 4-10 at the schools in Gateshead that are taking part in the trial will be given a Fluenz nasal spray vaccine from their school nurse.