Parents and guardians in the Thames Valley are being urged to visit their local GP to have their two and three-year-olds vaccinated against flu.

Children at that age are eligible for the vaccination which is a quick and painless nasal spray, which is free on the NHS.

READ MORE: How to stop the norovirus in the South East 

This comes after Public Health England are targeting to increase the number of two and three-year-olds being vaccinated by over 50 per cent from last year.

Additionally, last year’s figures showed that national uptake target for two and three-year-olds was 48 per cent.

In the Thames Valley (Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire), 47.6 per cent of two-year-olds and 51.9 per cent of three-year-olds were vaccinated against flu.

Paula Jackson, Consultant in Public Health for Thames Valley, said: "We know that many parents are great at taking up the offer of a flu vaccine for their children, but this year in Thames Valley we want to do even better.

“Flu circulates every winter and is a serious illness that can be deadly for the most vulnerable.

“Children are ‘super spreaders’, and vaccinating children not only protects the children themselves but also members of their family and community, including vulnerable people who are too young to be vaccinated, older people and those with health conditions.

“If more eligible children are vaccinated, then fewer people will get flu in the wider community.”

Paula added: “Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children causing fever, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness.

“It often takes a week for otherwise healthy children and adults to recover.

“Every year we see children who get serious complications from flu, such as pneumonia or seizures, and need to go to hospital for treatment.”

This comes the same week when Public Health England urged people to follow the ‘NORO’ code, to avoid getting the norovirus.