WEARSIDE youngsters look set to benefit from a nationwide roll-out of the flu vaccine.
Under a move announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, children aged two to 17 will be offered the flu vaccine for free.
It comes after expert medics revealed a mass vaccination scheme could save the lives of children and prevent many more from going to hospital.
NHS South of Tyne and Wear’s consultant in public health medicine, Faisal Al Durrah, said: “In recent years we have seen just how dangerous flu can be and the importance of the vaccination programme.
“We encourage the uptake of the flu vaccine each year as it has a real impact, saves lives and protects those who are weak and frail.
“This wider programme could offer further protection to Sunderland’s 49,000 children, from two years of age right through to 17.”
The flu vaccine is currently offered to over 65s, pregnant women and patients with chronic health problems.
It will be administered by nasal spray and could be introduced from 2014.