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29 October 2018, 10:18 | Updated: 29 October 2018, 10:26
The parents of a Devon boy who died from flu in January this year say they are overwhelmed by massive public support for their vaccination campaign, and are urging people to keep spreading the message.
The #ThumbsUpForCoby flu vaccination message, named after nine-year-old Coby Simons, has reached approximately 200,000 people nationwide on social media since it was launched by his brave parents Louise Simons and Jamie Chrichard at the start of October.
Louise and Jamie are urging parents to vaccinate their children this winter after Coby died of pneumonia on 24 January 2018, just days after coming down with flu. Getting children vaccinated is the single best thing parents can do to protect against the virus.
To help promote the campaign, thousands of 'postcards', featuring photos of a smiling Coby with his thumbs up and a message from Louise and Jamie have been distributed to children's centres, GP practices, schools, leisure centres and libraries across Devon.
The free vaccination programme has been extended this year meaning the nasal spray vaccine is offered to primary school children from reception through to and including year 5.
Pre-schoolers aged 2-4 are also eligible for a free vaccine.
The #ThumbsUpForCoby campaign is being run in partnership with Devon's NHS and public health organisations who say getting the vaccination is simple.
Clinics are available now and are filling up so get in touch now to protect your child.
Children tend to be 'super spreaders' of flu, so protecting them is crucial for protecting the rest of the population, particularly those who have long-term conditions, elderly relatives or those with vulnerable immune systems.
To support the campaign, search for and share the hashtag #ThumbsUpForCoby on Facebook and Twitter.
Flu vaccines cannot give you flu.
The injected flu vaccine given to adults contains inactivated flu viruses, so it can't give you flu.
Your arm may feel a bit sore where you were injected, and some people get a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards. Other reactions are very rare.
The children's nasal spray flu vaccine contains live but weakened flu viruses that will not give your child flu.
You can also find more information at www.newdevonccg.nhs.uk/stay-well-this-winter/flu-vaccination-101708