Get the vaccine for your child
Nursery and preschool children (aged 2, 3 and 4)
Nursery and preschool children aged 2, 3 and 4 are offered the flu vaccine every year during October at their nursery or GP surgery.
Look out for posters in your child's nursery telling you when the vaccine is offered in nursery or contact your GP surgery in October or November for an appointment. You'll not be charged for the visit.
School-age children (Reception to Year 11)
The nasal flu vaccine is offered in school during October and early November to all children from Reception to Year 11.
Your child’s school will provide more details when the vaccine is offered.
Home schooled children
If your child is home schooled, you’ll be sent a letter to your home address with information on how to book a nasal flu vaccine.
How the annual nasal flu vaccine helps your child
The annual flu vaccine can help reduce your child's risk of getting flu over the winter months. It's important to protect your child every year because:
- children are 2 to 3 times more likely to catch flu than adults
- children under 5 are more likely to be admitted to hospital with flu than any other age group
- when children get flu, their symptoms are more severe, last longer and can lead to complications
- children remain infectious for longer and are more likely to pass flu to their family and carers
The nasal flu vaccine for children is:
- safe and effective
- given as a single dose gently squirted up each nostril
- quick and painless as there's no injection involved (children say it tickles)
- given annually to protect against the virus strains expected to be circulating that winter
Marion Lee (Immunisation Nurse) explains the importance for children and young people to receive the nasal flu vaccine on YouTube
How vaccinated children help others
Vaccinating children against flu has been shown to reduce:
- flu illnesses
- doctor’s visits
- missed school days
- the risk of flu-related hospitalisation
Children are super-spreaders of flu. By vaccinating your child, you help them avoid catching flu or have mild flu. You also help prevent them from passing flu to vulnerable friends and family, such as grandparents and those with long-term health conditions.
This year helping to protect your child against flu is particularly important because COVID-19 is also circulating. People at risk from flu are also vulnerable to complications of COVID-19. Infection by both viruses around the same time causes more severe infection.
Nasal flu vaccine effectiveness for children
The nasal flu vaccine has been given to children in schools across the UK since 2013.
Evidence of its effectiveness has been demonstrated from its use in areas where the nasal flu vaccine was given in primary schools in pilot areas in 2014 and 2015.
Public Health England found in those areas where children received the nasal flu vaccine, there was a:
- 94% reduction in GP surgery consultations for influenza like illness amongst primary school aged children
- 74% reduction in Accident and Emergency respiratory attendances amongst primary school aged children
- 93% reduction in admissions to hospital for confirmed flu amongst primary school aged children
- 59% reduction in GP consultation rates for influenza like illness amongst adults
This shows that in addition to providing individual protection to children themselves, the nasal flu vaccination reduces transmission across all age groups.
This, in turn, lessens levels of flu infection overall in the winter and reduces the whole burden of flu across the population.
Evidence summarised by Public Health England each year since has shown the children's nasal flu vaccine provides good protection to children each year.
Whilst the nasal flu vaccine is not 100% effective, it is the best protection we can offer children against unpredictable flu viruses that circulate each winter.
Children with a long-term medical condition
We recommend the flu vaccine for children with any of the following long-term medical conditions:
- chronic respiratory disease or asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of inhaled or systemic steroids
- chronic heart disease
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease
- chronic neurological disease
- a suppressed immune system due to disease or treatment like chemotherapy
- Asplenia or spleen dysfunction
- a BMI of more than 40
There is no flu vaccine available for children under 6 months.
Nasal flu vaccine safety
The nasal flu vaccine is safe and effective and has been given to millions of children across the world over the past decade.
Children can’t get flu from the nasal vaccine. The vaccine given up a child's nose is 0.1ml, around 1/50th of a teaspoon of fluid given into each nostril. The fluid is quickly absorbed into the child's nose.
The vaccine does not create an external mist. Others in the room are not at risk when the nasal vaccine is given. The vaccine can only work in the temperature of the nose and cannot work in the air.
There are very few side effects. Some children may have a runny nose for a short time after having the nasal vaccine.
The nasal vaccine brand used is Fluenz.
Fluenz patient information leaflet on Medicines.org
Find out more about the children’s flu vaccine on NHS and on naval flu vaccine on University of Oxford.
If you have any questions about the flu vaccine, contact:
- your GP
- your Practice Nurse
- the Immunisation Nurse Specialist, call +44 (0) 1534 445790 or email email@example.com