Vaccination Info

What is it?

The recommended flu vaccine isn't an injection, it's a nasal spray.

How it works

As a nasal spray flu vaccine chosen for children in the UK, unless contraindicated, it is made up of specially weakened, whole, live viruses. 1

The viruses in this nasal spray have been changed so they can’t reproduce in the lungs, which means this nasal spray is unlikely to cause flu 2

How vaccination is given


Step 1

The nurse or doctor places the tip of a thin plastic tube just inside the nostril.


Step 2

A mist of tiny droplets is sprayed into the nose.


Step 3

Then they do the same for the other nostril. 1, 3

Has the vaccine been used before?

Nasal spray has been used in the USA since 2003, and over 116.2 million doses of nasal spray have been distributed worldwide since 2003.4



After the flu vaccination

Sometimes children who have been vaccinated against the flu with this nasal spray will have one or more of these side effects: 1, 2

These side effects are similar to the ones children get after the injectable flu vaccines.5

For more detailed information on side effects, please see the patient information leaflet

Possible flu vaccination side effects typically include:

  • Blocked nose
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Not hungry
  • Feeling unwell
  • Sore muscles

Is it for everyone?

If your child is under 2 or over 18 years they won't be offered this nasal spray.

Remember that children who can’t receive this nasal spray may still be able to have a flu vaccine.

For more information on this nasal spray and to download the Patient Information Leaflet please go to:

Who shouldn't be given this nasal spray vaccination?

Children aged 2-17 years should not be given this nasal spray if they: 1, 3

  • Are allergic to eggs, egg proteins, gentamicin, gelatin or any of the other ingredients of the spray
  • Have a very weak immune system for any reason
  • Have severe asthma or wheezing
  • Are taking aspirin or any medicine that has aspirin in it

Advice for faith communities

This nasal spray flu vaccine contains a highly processed form of gelatin (porcine, derived from pigs), which is used globally in many essential medicines. The full list of LAIV ingredients is found in the Summary of Product Characteristics excipients available from eMC. Please go to:

Some faith groups accept the use of porcine gelatin in medical products – the decision is, of course, up to you. For further information about porcine gelatin and this nasal flu vaccine, see:


1.Fluenz Tetra Summary of Product Characteristics. October 2016.

2.CDC – Seasonal Influenza (Flu) – Q & A: The Nasal-Spray Flu Vaccine (Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine [LAIV]). Available at: Last accessed October 2016.

3.Fluenz Patient Information Leaflet, October 2016. Available at: Last accessed October 2016.

4. AstraZeneca data on file: FLU 010 APR2016.

5.Ambrose CS, et al. Influenza Other Respir Viruses 2011; 5: 389–397.


You are encouraged to report side effects. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the package leaflet. Please talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you get any side effects. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at