Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect children from flu and its complications.
Most children have flu vaccination via a simple spray up the nose. They do not need to be vaccinated via needle.
Many children get their flu spray at school.
Children aged 2 or 3 (on 31.8.2020) should attend the surgery for the flu spray. Some older and younger children can also be vaccinated at the surgery. Please read on for details.
Booking a flu spray
This year we are planning to give flu vaccination to more people than ever before. To make the process go smoothly and to maintain social distancing we will need you to book an appointment slot for your child’s flu spray.
There are appointments available in the second half of September.
The appointments are listed as CHILD FLU NASAL SPRAY - By Invite Only, please do not book for anything else. We politely ask that you do not book these appointments for anything other that the CHILD FLU NASAL SPRAY as we will be unable to do anything other than flu nasal sprays at these appointments. If you need to discuss anything else with a clinician, please use our new e-consult application.
If you cannot use one of these means to book your appointment then please phone reception after 11 o’clock
Attending for a flu spray
Please attend at the booked time for your flu jab
If your child, yourself or your close contacts have covid symptoms (new cough, fever or loss of sense of smell/taste) DO NOT COME to the appointment, but reschedule for at least 2 weeks later. Click HERE for coronavirus advice
You may need to wait outside the building for a few minutes, as we cannot have too many people in the Health Centre at any one time.
You will be asked to enter the building via the front door and leave via the back door.
We will NOT have time to deal with matters that are not relevant to the flu spray.
Which children should get the flu spray?
This year the flu vaccine is being offered on the NHS to:
- children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age [children under 2 need vaccination by needle]
- children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2020
- children in primary school [given at school]
- children in year 7 (secondary school) [given at school]
Which type of flu vaccine should I have?
There are several types of flu vaccine.
- children aged 2 to 17 are offered a live vaccine (LAIV) as a nasal spray; the live viruses have been weakened so it cannot give you flu
- If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years old and is in a high-risk group for flu, they'll be offered an injected flu vaccine because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2.
How effective is the flu vaccine?
Flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus that can cause unpleasant illness in children and severe illness and death among at-risk groups, including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying physical health condition.
Studies have shown that the flu vaccine will help prevent you getting the flu.
It will not stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary, so it's not a 100% guarantee that you'll be flu-free.
New flu vaccines are produced each year, which is why people advised to have the flu vaccine need it every year.
Flu Spray side effects
Side effects of the nasal spray vaccine can commonly include a runny or blocked nose, a headache, tiredness and some loss of appetite.
How safe is the flu spray?
The flu vaccines used in the national programme have a good safety record.
Flu vaccines that are used in England have been thoroughly tested before they're made available.
When to have a flu vaccine
The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts circulating.
Are there any children who should delay having the nasal spray flu vaccine?
Children should have their nasal spray flu vaccination delayed if they're unwell with a high temperature. The vaccination can be delayed until they feel better. If a child has a heavily blocked or runny nose, it might stop the vaccine getting into their system. In this case, their flu vaccination can be postponed until their nasal symptoms have cleared up.
Are there any children who should not have the nasal spray flu vaccine?
Children may not be able to have the nasal spray flu vaccine if they have:
- a severely weakened immune system
- a severe egg allergy with anaphylaxis that's led to intensive care hospital admission
- severe asthma, that is, those being treated with steroid tablets or who have needed intensive care because of their asthma
- are currently wheezy or have been wheezy in the past 72 hours
- an allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients, such as neomycin
- a condition that requires salicylate treatment
If your child is at high risk of flu as a result of one or more medical conditions or treatments and cannot have the nasal flu vaccine because of this, they should have the injected flu vaccine.
If you're not sure, check with the school immunisation team, the nurse or GP at your surgery, or a specialist.
Will the flu spray give my child flu?
No. The vaccine contains viruses that have been weakened to prevent them causing flu.
Does the nasal vaccine contain pork?
Yes, the nasal spray contains a highly processed form of gelatine (porcine gelatine), which is used in a range of essential medicines.
The gelatine helps to keep the vaccine stable, so the vaccine provides the best protection against flu.
Can my child have the injected vaccine that does not contain gelatine instead?
The nasal vaccine provides good protection against flu, particularly in young children.
It also reduces the risk of spreading flu to, for example, a baby brother or sister who's too young to be vaccinated, as well as other family members (for example, grandparents) who may be more vulnerable to the complications of flu.
If your child is at high risk from flu because of one or more medical conditions or treatments and cannot have the nasal flu vaccine, they should have the injected flu vaccine.
Some people may not accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products. You should discuss your options with your nurse or doctor.