THE FATHER of a two-year-old boy who was rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties twice, has urged parents to vaccinate their children against flu.

Toddler Joseph Pearson, from the Bold Venture area of Darwen, has had two episodes of viral induced wheezing and has been admitted to Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital twice.

Little Joseph suffered his first wheezing episode shortly before his second birthday and then again a few weeks later.

It proved to be a very frightening experience for the toddler and his parents and he was admitted to hospital on both occasions.

His dad Mark Pearson, who took him for his nasal-spray flu vaccination, is now supporting the NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group’s campaign called 'Protect Your Family'.

The campaign is aimed at improving the low take up of the flu vaccination across the borough, particularly among children who are the main spreaders of the virus.

Dad Mark said: “It was a very simple process, much quicker than I thought it would be. It didn’t bother him at all.

"Normally it is horrible having anything put up your nose.

"When he had the viral induced wheezing, he was struggling to breathe and his chest and belly was going up and down very fast. It was very scary."

Mark said Joseph is too young to be diagnosed with asthma but the symptoms are very similar.

He said he was invited to take little Joseph for a nasal-spray flu vaccine at his GP surgery at Darwen Healthlink because he is now in a priority group due to his underlying illness.

Mark said: “There was never any doubt that we were going to bring him for his vaccine. He is in a priority group and it will protect him, particularly with this recent history. We will also be vaccinating the whole family too to protect him.”

Joseph’s sister Ava will have the vaccine at school as she is eight. Mum Carley and Tamara who is 10, will have to pay for the vaccine at a pharmacy.

Juliette, practice nurse at the Darwen Healthlink surgery, said: “The Nasal Flu spray vaccine is more effective in children.

At Darwen Healthlink, we actively promote the flu clinics and at the moment, we are running a couple a week. Each child, who meets the criteria, is invited by letter to come in.”

as well as priority children such as those with asthma or long term conditions, all children aged between two and eight are eligible for the nasal-spray flu vaccine.

Two and three years olds are offered the nasal-spray flu vaccine at nursery, while the older children are offered it at school.

All other children and young people aged between two and 17 with underlying issues, such as Joseph, are sent a letter from their GP to come to a flu clinic.

Pregnant women, the elderly and those with long term conditions are also advised to have the flu vaccine.

For more information about the flu vaccine, visit;;; or @BwdCCG