HEALTH chiefs have issued an urgent plea to parents after it was revealed that fewer than one third of two to four-year-olds are getting the nasal spray flu vaccine.
The uptake is down on the same point last year, the first time children were routinely immunised against flu.
Public Health England said that young children were “super-spreaders” and stopping flu in children would protect their parents and grandparents.
However, so far less than a third of toddlers have received the vaccine in the borough so far.
Last winter was a relatively mild flu season and health agencies have already warned of complacency when it comes to getting immunised.
More than two million toddlers are being targeted in vaccination campaigns.
Professor Kate Ardern, Director of Public Health for Wigan borough, said: “Flu can be a very unpleasant illness and for those vulnerable groups it can be dangerous.
“The nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way for young children to be protected from flu without the need for injections.”
Public Health England say part of the problem is awareness.
Two and three-year-olds were vaccinated for the first time last winter and the programme has been extended to four-year-olds this year.
But Prof Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, said half of mums were unaware that the vaccine existed.
She said: “Flu can be really nasty for toddlers, leading to time off nursery which has a big impact on mums and dads and sometimes even a stay in hospital.
“They also spread the virus easily and often pass flu to grandparents and other relatives who can become very ill, fast.
“Giving two, three and four year olds the nasal spray really is in everyone’s interests.”