Urgent call for more Welsh children to get flu vaccine

Four-year-old Iestyn Sion Roberts from Tregarth near Bangor having his flu vaccination Image copyright Public Health Wales
Image caption Iestyn Sion Roberts aged four got his vaccine at his local surgery in Felinheli

Urgent calls have been made for Welsh children aged two, three and four to be vaccinated against flu.

Health officials in Wales said just one in five of children eligible for the vaccine, which is given as a nasal spray, has had it.

According to figures, that means 78% are currently unprotected.

The vaccination call comes after Public Health Wales revealed just as many children were admitted to hospital as adults for flu last winter.

The free vaccine is available from a GP but all stocks will reach their expiry date by early January 2015.

Wales' Chief Medical Officer Dr Ruth Hussey said: "Children in Wales aged two to four years old are entitled to free flu vaccinations and I encourage all parents and guardians to have their children vaccinated as soon as possible.

"Flu is an unpleasant illness at any age and can cause fever, chills, aching muscles, headaches and tiredness amongst other symptoms and, for some, result in hospitalisation.

"The flu virus spreads easily among children as they are less aware of good hand hygiene or using tissues," she added.

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