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 (age on 31st August 2018), plus all children in primary school (reception class to school year 6) as part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination programme.

Children with long-term health conditions

The nasal spray flu vaccine is also recommended for all 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.

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

Are there any children who should delay having the nasal spray flu vaccine?

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.

Children who are unwell with a temperature should delay the vaccination until they are better, but if they have a cough, cold or other minor illness they can be vaccinated.

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.

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

Children who are in close contact with someone who has a very severely weakened immune system and is being nursed in isolation in a protected environment (such as after a bone marrow transplant). This is because there's a very small chance that the vaccine virus may be passed to the very severely immunosuppressed person in the two weeks after a child is vaccinated.

Children unable to have the nasal spray vaccine may be able to have the injectable flu vaccine instead. If you are unsure speak to their school nurse or GP or practice nurse.


Click here to see all vaccination leaflets.

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