Public Health England is urging parents in the Burnham-On-Sea area whose children have not yet been vaccinated against flu to do so before the winter flu season begins.

For the first time children in year four (aged eight and nine) will be added to the school vaccination programme.

The vaccination programme already covers children in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 (aged between 4 – 8) but now children in year four (aged 8-9) will also be able to get their free flu vaccination, in the form of a nasal spray, at school.

The added school year means that an extra 170,000 children can benefit from protection against the flu virus this coming winter.

Last year, many children aged between 2 – 8 years missed out on getting the vaccine.

In Somerset, vaccine flu percentage uptake at Year 1 (age 5-6 years) was 65% while Year 2 (age 6-7 years) was 62.6% and Year 3 (aged 7-8 years) 61.5%.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to flu and are most likely to spread flu to others. Vaccinating them is one of the best ways to protect them and the wider community against flu.

Dr Julie Yates, Screening and Immunisation lead for Public Health England South West, said: “Vaccinating those who are most likely to get flu both protects them and offers indirect protection to the rest of the population by reducing the amount of virus circulating.”

“Flu can be much more dangerous for children than many parents realise and when children get flu they tend to spread it around the whole family.”

“The childhood flu vaccination programme is really beneficial in reducing the spread of the infection to other more vulnerable family members for whom flu can be very serious.”

Last year, over 1,000 people were admitted to Intensive Care or High Dependency Units with confirmed flu last winter, with 133 of these cases being fatal.

To get your vaccine or find out if you are eligible, contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife for more information. Visit for more details on how to help you and your family to stay well this winter.

The flu vaccination programme will be extended gradually to older age groups in primary school in future years.