Flu Immunisation Frequently Asked Questions

Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, aching muscles and joints, and extreme tiredness. This can often last several days. Some children can also get a very high fever, sometimes without the usual flu symptoms, and may need to go to hospital for treatment. Complications of flu can include a painful ear infection, bronchitis, and pneumonia - these may be severe.
Having the vaccine will help protect your child from what can be a very nasty illness and will also reduce the chance of others in your family getting it. It can help you avoid having to take time out because you are ill or to look after your sick child.

For most children, it is given as a nasal spray.

Specially trained healthcare staff will give your child the nasal flu vaccination. In some cases, older children may be given the option to give the vaccine to themselves, under the supervision of the healthcare team.
The nasal flu vaccine contains viruses that have been weakened to prevent them from causing flu but will help your child to build up immunity, so that when your child comes into contact with the flu virus they are unlikely to get ill.
Side effects are uncommon but may include a runny or blocked nose, headache, general tiredness and some loss of appetite. The vaccine is absorbed quickly in the nose so, even if your child sneezes immediately after having had the spray, there’s no need to worry that it hasn’t worked.

Children should not have the nasal vaccine if they:

  • are severely asthmatic, i.e. being treated with oral steroids or high dose inhaled steroids.
  • are severely immunocompromised.

Also, children who have been vaccinated should avoid close contact with people with very severely weakened immune systems for around two weeks following vaccination. This is because there’s an extremely remote chance that the vaccine virus may be passed to them.

The nasal flu vaccine contains minute traces of animal products (e.g., porcine gelatine) and other components. If you have any concerns about the contents of the vaccines you can find out more at: www.gov.uk/government/news/vaccines-and-gelatine-phe-response or www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaccines-and-porcine-gelatine

The nasal flu vaccine provides the best protection against flu, particularly in young children. This vaccine not only helps protect your child against disease but, if enough children are vaccinated, the disease won’t spread from one person to another, and so their friends and family are also protected.

Some faith groups accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products - the decision is, of course, up to you.

The injectable vaccine is only available in exceptional circumstances for children considered “high risk”.
Yes; it has been used in America for many years and it was used since 2012 in the UK where hundreds of thousands of children were successfully vaccinated.
 
Information

View our introduction to the flu vaccine,
how to contact us and what happens next

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