Vaccination can help ‘outsmart flu’
The nasal spray flu vaccine offered to eligible children, as part of the NHS childhood flu vaccination programme, contains live viruses that have been weakened to help prevent them from causing flu and can help children to build immunity.1,2
- The NHS in England continues to provide the free nasal spray flu vaccine to eligible children as part of the childhood national immunisation programme.3,4
- In England, a nasal spray flu vaccine is provided to children aged 2-3 at their GP surgery and school-aged children in reception class and years 1-5.5 This may vary in some areas throughout the UK.
- Because the main flu viruses change each year, all flu vaccines need to be given each year, including a nasal spray flu vaccine.2,6
How vaccination is given
How safe is the vaccine?
In the UK the nasal spray flu vaccine has been available since 2013 and it continues to be recommended for the NHS national vaccination programme.3,5,7
Are there side effects?
Serious side-effects are uncommon. Children may develop a runny or blocked nose, headache, general tiredness and some loss of appetite.1,3 However, these very common side effects are much less serious than developing flu or complications associated with flu.1
Very common side-effects may affect 1 in 10 people.3
For more detailed information on side effects, please see the patient information leaflet https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/3296/pil
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 flu vaccination?
Talk to your doctor before vaccination if your child:3
- Is allergic to eggs, egg proteins, gentamicin, gelatine or any of the other ingredients of the nasal spray flu vaccine.
- Has a very weak immune system for any reason.
- Has severe asthma or is currently wheezing.
- Is taking aspirin or any medicine that has aspirin in it.
- For more information on the nasal spray flu vaccine this season, please refer to the Patient Information Leaflet: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/3296/pil
Advice for faith communities
This nasal spray flu vaccine contains a highly processed form of gelatine (porcine, derived from pigs), which is used globally in many essential medicines. The full list of vaccine ingredients is found in the Patient Information Leaflet. Please go to: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/3296/pil
Some faith groups accept the use of porcine gelatine in medical products – the decision is, of course, up to you. For further information about porcine gelatine and this nasal flu vaccine, see:
- Public Health England, NHS. Protecting your child against flu. Information for parents. Flu immunisation in England. June 2018. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/613471/Protecting_your_child_against_flu_leaflet.pdf
- NHS Vaccinations. Children’s flu vaccine. 24 August 2018. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/
- Fluenz Tetra Nasal Spray Suspension Influenza Vaccine (live attenuated, nasal). Summary of Product Characteristics. 28 August 2018. https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/3296/smpc
- Public Health England. Influenza: the green book, chapter 19. August 2018. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/733840/Influenza_green_book_chapter19.pdf
- Chief Medical Officer. The national flu immunisation programme 2018/2019. 26 March 2018. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/694779/Annual_national_flu_programme_2018-2019.pdf
- World Health Organization. Influenza virus infections in humans. February 2014. http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/virology_laboratories_and_vaccines/influenza_virus_infections_humans_feb14.pdf
- Intranasal flu vaccines: Not to be sniffed at. British Journal of School Nursing. 2015; 10(4): 168-170. https://doi.org/10.12968/bjsn.2015.10.4.168