PARENTS have been urged to get their children vaccinated against flu to help curb infection.

Health experts warn that 'super spreader' children should have their free flu jabs to keep grandparents safer this Christmas.

The NHS released an appeal to parents as children without the vaccination are more likely to contract the flu at nursery or school and then spread the virus at a rapid rate, posing a risk to older people.

Free flu vaccinations have been expanded this year to cover children in school Year 4 as well as registered residential, nursing and home care workers.

However, fewer than one in five school age children has had the nasal spray immunisation, according to the latest figures.

Dr Shelley Grumbridge, NHS Oldham CCG’s Clinical Director for Urgent Care, said: "Flu can be spread more easily by children, especially to vulnerable relatives such as older grandparents, those with heart or lung conditions and pregnant family members.

"There's still time for parents to get their 'super-spreader' children vaccinated before the flu season traditionally reaches its peak.

"Getting your vaccination is one simple, common sense step to help us all stay healthy this winter."

Flu can lead to serious implications, increasing the risk of death in older people and other vulnerable groups such as asthma sufferers, pregnant women and patients with heart, liver and lung complaints.

Irene Shepherd, Practice Nurse at Hopwood House Practice and NHS Oldham Clincal Commissioning Group's Flu Lead, said: "The vaccine is the best protection there is against flu, which causes on average 8,000 deaths a year nationally – many of which occur in the winter months.

"The nasal spray vaccine last year reduced children’s risk of flu by 65 per cent meaning they were less likely to spread it to relatives and others they come into close contact with.

"Over the next few weeks ahead of Christmas, we urge parents of eligible children aged two and three to book their vaccine via their GP or local pharmacy.

"Parents should also give consent for eligible school-aged children to receive the vaccine in school. It’s quick, easy and painless."