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
How to get the vaccine for your child
Flu vaccinations for school children from Reception to Year 11 (inclusive) will be available at the General Hospital.
Appointments will be available on:
- Friday 5 November between 2pm and 4pm
- Saturday 13 November between 10am and 2pm
To book an appointment, call +44 (0) 1534 443741 any day between 10am and 2pm.
Nasal flu vaccines will be administered in the Out Patients department at the General Hospital.
These additional appointments have been put in place for school children who were unable to get their flu vaccination during the school roll-out. Parents must attend the appointment with the child.
Nursery and preschool children (aged 2, 3 and 4 years old)
To make it easier for parents to get their child protected, nursery and preschool children aged 2, 3 and 4 are offered the flu vaccine annually at their nursery or at their GP surgery during October.
Look out for posters in your child's nursery telling you when the vaccine is being 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 and year groups 1 up to and including school year 11)
The nasal flu vaccine is offered in school to all children up to and including year 11 during October and early November. There will be no school aged catch up clinics in the hospital this year due to COVID-19.
Email the Immunisation Nurse Specialist if you have any questions.
Home schooled children
If your child is home schooled, you will be sent a letter to your home address with how to book a nasal flu vaccine.
How vaccinated children help others
Children are the super-spreaders of flu during the winter. By vaccinating your child and helping prevent them from catching flu, you'll also help prevent them from passing flu onto vulnerable friends and family, such as grandparents and those with long-term health conditions.
Getting children vaccinated has been shown to reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed school days as well as reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalisation.
This year, helping to protect your child against flu is particularly important if COVID-19 is still circulating. This is because people at risk from flu are also vulnerable to complications of COVID-19.
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. A Fluenz patient information leaflet is on the
You can find out more about the nasal vaccine for children on the
NHS choices website and
University of Oxford website.
If you have any questions about the flu vaccine, talk to your GP or Practice Nurse or contact the Immunisation Nurse Specialist on +44 (0) 1534 445790 or send an email:
Email the Immunisation Nurse Specialist