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Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG

Flu and children

Home » Flu Guidance » Flu and young children

The children’s flu vaccine is offered as a yearly nasal spray to children to help protect them against flu. Flu can be a very unpleasant illness for children, with potentially serious complications, including bronchitis and pneumonia.

Children can catch and spread flu easily. Vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies and older people.

At what age should children have the nasal spray flu vaccine?

The nasal spray flu vaccine is free on the NHS for:

  • children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2021 – born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2019
  • all primary school children (reception to year 6)
  • all year 7 to year 11 children in secondary school
  • children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions

If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years and has a long-term health condition that makes them at higher risk from flu, they’ll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray. This is because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2 years.

The nasal spray vaccine offers the best protection for children aged 2 to 17 years. They will be offered the flu vaccine injection if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them.

Where children can go for their flu vaccine

From 6 months until 2 years (with long-term condition) – GP surgery
From 2 years until child starts primary school – GP surgery
All children at primary school – School
Year 7 to Year 11 secondary school children – School
Children in reception to year 11 (with long-term condition) – School or GP surgery
Home-schooled children – GP surgery

Gelatine content

The nasal spray vaccine contains gelatine which is made from pork. The gelatine used is a highly purified product and is essential for stabilising the vaccine.

We understand that some parents may have religious or ethical objections to the pork gelatine content of the nasal spray. Parents who do not wish for their child to have the nasal spray due to its porcine gelatine (pork) content, can request the injectable vaccine is used instead. The injectable vaccine does not contain any porcine gelatine content.

• If your child is at school you will be sent a consent form link via your child’s school where you can specify which vaccine your child can have. Alternatively, you can log on to www.nottinghamshireimmunisations.co.uk to consent online.  If you have already declined a vaccination but have since changed your mind, call 07920 182032 to arrange a flu vaccination.  

• If your child has an underlying health condition, and is more vulnerable to flu, they will be offered a flu vaccine at their GP surgery. Parents can request an injectable vaccine rather than the nasal spray via their GP.

• If your child is 2 or 3 years of age they will be invited for their vaccination by their GP. You can ask your practice for the injectable non-porcine flu vaccine.

For more information on children’s flu vaccines, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/

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