Flu is a very common infection in babies and children.
It can be very unpleasant for them.
Why children are offered flu vaccine
Children with flu have the same symptoms as adults, including a high temperature, chills, aching muscles, a headache, a stuffy nose, a dry cough and a sore throat lasting up to a week.
They may need hospital treatment, and very occasionally a child may die from flu.
In fact, healthy children under the age of 5 are more likely to have to be admitted to hospital with flu than any other age group.
This also helps reduce the risk of children spreading flu to friends and family.
Which children are eligible?
Children aged between 6 months and 2 years in a high-risk group.
All children aged 2 to 5 years of age on 1st September 2020 (born on or before 1st September 2018) not yet at school.
All individuals of primary school age.
Young carers, defined as, a child or young person under the age of 18 carrying out significant caring tasks and assuming a level of responsibility for another person, which would normally be taken by an adult.
All individuals aged from 2 years to under 18 years who live in the same home as those individuals within the COVID-19 shielding group.
How to book an appointment
Pre-school children aged 2-5 years
Parents and guardians will receive an appointment by mail for their child to attend one of our vaccination centres across Grampian to receive their flu vaccination.
If your appointment is not suitable call the NHS Grampian flu helpline on 0345 337 9899.
All primary school children in P1-7
All primary school children in P1-7 will receive their flu vaccination at school. Look out for a letter, leaflets and consent form coming home from primary school.
Some Consultants will recommend ‘at risk’ children should receive their vaccine as an injection prior to the nasal (live) flu being given in schools. This appointment can be arranged by calling the NHS Grampian flu helpline 0345 337 9899.
Children who are home educated will also be offered the vaccine, provided they’re in an eligible age group.
This appointment can be arranged by calling the NHS Grampian flu helpline 0345 337 9899.
Children at higher risk from flu
They’re more likely to get severely ill if they catch flu and it could make their existing condition worse. This means it’s especially important that they’re vaccinated.
If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years old and is in a high-risk group for flu, they’ll be offered an injected flu vaccine.
This is because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under the age of 2.
Some children over the age of 2 who are in a high-risk group will also need to have an injected vaccine if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them.
How to get the flu vaccine for your child
How is the nasal spray flu vaccine given?
The vaccine is absorbed very quickly. It’ll still work even if, after the vaccination, your child develops a runny nose, sneezes or blows their nose.
Stopping the spread of flu
The nasal spray flu vaccine will not only help protect your child against flu, the infection will also be less able to spread from them to their family, carers and the wider population.
Children spread flu because they generally do not use tissues properly or wash their hands.
Vaccinating children also protects others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies, older people, pregnant women and people with serious long-term illnesses.
Children and flu.Frequently Asked Questions
These are the most common questions we are asked on a regular basis. We hope you find answers to some of the questions you might have.
How safe is the flu vaccine for children?
The flu vaccine for children has a good safety record. Millions of children in the UK have been vaccinated safely and successfully.
How does the children's flu vaccine work?
The vaccine contains live but weakened flu viruses that do not cause flu in children.
How many doses of the flu vaccine do children need?
Most children only need a single dose of the nasal spray.
The patient information leaflet provided with the nasal spray suggests children should be given 2 doses of this vaccine if they have not had the flu vaccine before.
But the NHS vaccination programme has advised that healthy children only need a single dose because a second dose of the vaccine provides little additional protection.
Children aged 2 to 9 years at risk of flu because of an underlying medical condition, who have not received flu vaccine before, should have 2 doses of the nasal spray given at least 4 weeks apart.
It’ll help your child build up immunity to flu in a similar way as natural infection, but without the symptoms.
Because the main flu viruses change each year, a new nasal spray vaccine has to be given each year, in the same way as the injectable flu vaccine.
Does my child have to have the nasal spray flu vaccine?
Why can under-2s not have a nasal spray flu vaccine?
The nasal spray vaccine is not licensed for children younger than 2 because it can be linked to wheezing in children this age.
Why are children not being given the injected flu vaccine instead of a nasal spray?
The nasal spray flu vaccine is more effective for children than the injected flu vaccine, so it’s the preferred option.
Will the flu vaccine give my child flu?
No. The vaccine contains viruses that have been weakened to prevent them causing flu.
Does the nasal vaccine contain pork?
Yes, the nasal spray contains a highly processed form of gelatine (porcine gelatine), which is used in a range of essential medicines.
The gelatine helps to keep the vaccine stable, so the vaccine provides the best protection against flu.
Can my child have the injected vaccine that does not contain gelatine instead?
Some people may not accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products. You should discuss your options with your nurse or doctor.
Please contact your local flu helpline:
Aberdeenshire: 0330 128 9919 (available 8:45am - 4:30pm)
Aberdeen City: 0800 030 4713 (available 9am - 5pm)
Moray: 0345 337 9899
(available 8:30am - 4.30pm)
National Helpline (available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week)
0800 030 8013
Visit NHS Inform for further information on the Flu Vaccination programme
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Our flu information videos.
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