Flu vaccine for children

The children's flu vaccine is offered as a yearly nasal spray to young children to help protect them against flu.

Note: This information is taken directly from the NHS Choices.

At what age should children have the nasal spray flu vaccine?

In the autumn/winter of 2017/18, the vaccine will be available free on the NHS for eligible children, including:

  • children aged 2 and 3 on August 31 2017 – that is, children born between September 1 2013 and August 31 2015
  • children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3 and 4
  • in some parts of the country, all primary school-aged children will be offered the vaccine (following a pilot in some areas)
  • children aged 2 to 17 with long-term health conditions.

Over the next few years the programme will gradually be extended to include older children.

Why children are being offered a flu vaccine

Flu can be very unpleasant for children. They have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat lasting up to a week.

Some children develop a very high fever or complications of flu such as bronchitispneumonia and painful middle ear infection. They may need hospital treatment, and very occasionally a child may die from flu.

For children with long-term health conditions such as diabetesasthmaheart disease or lung disease, getting flu can be very serious as they are more at risk of developing serious complications.

Read more about the flu vaccine for children.
Read more about flu and the complications of flu.