An online game is helping Public Health Wales to promote the benefits of flu vaccination in a fun way, targeting in particular eligible children aged two to four and those in school year seven. The free, downloadable game is likely to see a surge in usage during National Parents’ Week (20 - 26 October), with parents and children being encouraged to play the online game together and ‘beat the bugs’. The interactive game can be played on computers or portable devices including smart phones or tablets, and accessed via the ‘Beat Flu’ website (www.beatflu.org) or Facebook page.
The game highlights the availability of free nasal spray flu vaccines for two, three and four year olds in Wales, in addition to school year seven pupils (this is the first year of secondary school).
Last year children aged two and three were offered the nasal spray vaccine but only one in three took up the offer.
This is the second phase of the childhood flu vaccination programme and it is anticipated that when the programme is fully implemented all children aged two - 16 will be offered the nasal spray flu vaccine each autumn. This is in addition to other eligible groups such as those aged 65 and over, those in with long term health conditions, carers, plus all pregnant women who will be offered an injectable flu vaccine.
Dr Richard Roberts, Head of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme at Public Health Wales, said: “The game is a simple but fun way to get our message out there and encourage take up of the vaccination.
“Children aged two and three were offered a nasal spray vaccine last year but only one in three (37.8%) took up the offer. Young children are a particularly important group and we have added four year olds to the routine vaccination programme this year.
“We hope to see a vast increase in the numbers of young children getting protected by the flu nasal spray vaccine. If youngsters and their parents can all beat the bugs online, the children can certainly beat the bugs for real by getting their nasal spray vaccination at their GP surgery! But parents need to hurry before flu illnesses arrive and the viruses start to circulate”
The annual flu vaccination programme aims to ensure that the people who need it most get free protection each year against the flu. This year, for the second year running, a flu nasal spray vaccine is being offered to children who were two or three years old on 31 August and school year 7 pupils, and for the first time, four year olds have been added to the vaccination programme.
To play the game, visit www.beatflu.org or www.curwchffliw.org. Alternatively, play the game via the Beat Flu or Curwch Ffliw Facebook pages.
Source: Hywel Dda University Health Board
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