Parents in the midwest have been urged to continue to bring their children for the free nasal spray flu vaccine, after it revealed that more than 1,000 cases of flu have been recorded in the region since mid December.

The Department of Public Health midwest believes that is a conservative figure, as not everyone with flu has been tested.

They have urged parents to avail of the free nasal spray vaccine for children aged 2-17 years at clinics at Scoil Carmel in Limerick city centre which continue up to Saturday.

It is also available from GP's and in pharmacies until 23 January, after which only children with serious medical conditions which puts them at risk of serious illnesses will be able to get the vaccine.

Dr Breda Cosgrove, Consultant in Public Health Medicine said: "We continue to see high levels of flu across the midwest.

"While most children who catch flu will have mild symptoms, it can cause serious illness in some children and 700 children have been admitted to hospital with flu across the country during this flu season."

Dr Siobhan Gallagher, Pediatrician at the UL Hospital Group said while not all sick children with flu will need to be hospitalised, the hospitals in the region have been significantly impacted over the past number of weeks.

She added that clinics available until Saturday offer parents a good opportunity to have their children safely and conveniently vaccinated.