NHS Choices

Which children can have the flu vaccine?

Which children can have a flu vaccine?

Annual nasal spray flu vaccine will be offered to all children aged two and three years, plus children in reception class, year 1, year 2, year 3 and year 4 in primary school as part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination programme.

The programme is being rolled out, and in time all children between the ages of two and 16 will be vaccinated against flu each year with the nasal spray.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is also recommended for all children aged from two to 17 years who are 'at risk' from flu, such as children with long-term health conditions.

Children ‘at risk’ from flu due to a long-term health condition or treatment between the ages of six months and two years will continue to receive the annual flu jab (an injection).

Children with long-term health conditions

Children aged two to 17 who are ‘at risk’ from the complications of flu because they have a long-term health condition, such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, will have the annual nasal flu spray vaccine instead of the annual flu jab, which they were previously given.

Children ‘at risk’ from the complications of flu between the ages of six months and two years will continue to receive the annual flu jab.

Which children should delay having the nasal spray flu vaccine?

If a child has a heavily blocked or runny nose at the time of vaccination, it might stop the vaccine getting into their system, so it’s best to postpone the flu vaccination until their nasal symptoms have cleared up.

If a child is wheezy or has been wheezy in the past three days, vaccination should be delayed until they have been free from wheezing for at least three days. Children with asthma who have increased the use of their asthma inhaler use in the past three days.  The child’s doctor  or nurse may decide to give these children a flu vaccine injection rather than delay their protection.

Which children should NOT have the nasal spray flu vaccine?

The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for children who have:

  • severe asthma and are being treated with oral steroids or very high dose inhaled steroids
  • a severely weakened immune system
  • severe egg allergy which has previously required intensive care
  • an allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients, such as neomycin

It is also not recommended for any children who are on long term aspirin (salicylate) treatment

There’s a small risk that the viruses in the nasal spray may be harmful to other people who have severely weakened immune systems (who will be in protective isolation at home or hospital). This is because there's a very small chance that the vaccine virus may pass to them.

For children in this situation, it may be possible for them to have the injectable flu vaccine instead.



Click here to see all vaccination leaflets.

Last Updated: 01/04/2017 09:00:00