Influenza (flu) Vaccination in London
Influenza, commonly known as the flu is an infectious disease that is caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe respiratory illness and symptoms include fever, cough and runny nose, headaches, aches and lethargy. Children have much higher rates of the flu in comparison to COVID-19 and also readily spread the virus to adults.
When is the Flu Vaccine Available?
Influenza (Flu) vaccines are usually available from September during the winter and early spring months in the UK, but can be given at other times of the year. In the UK the flu vaccine is available for children over the age of 2 years.
Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine?
The flu vaccine is recommended for all eligible ages. In the UK, the nasal spray, live attenuated vaccine, is currently available via the NHS from 2 years to 11 years of age. The nasal spray flu vaccine is also available privately and recommended until the age of 18 years. An injection of inactivated flu vaccine is available from 6 months of age, with two doses recommended a minimum of 4 weeks apart for children who have not previously received the vaccine.
Will the flu vaccine give my child the flu?
No, flu vaccination does not cause flu. Neither the live flu nasal spray vaccine nor the inactivated injection flu vaccine cause flu. Side effects are usually mild and include a runny nose, headache and tiredness following the nasal spray and soreness in the arm at the site for the injection.
What is the flu vaccine nasal spray?
In the UK, the flu vaccine nasal spray is provided yearly to young children in order to protect them from flu. It is administered via a single spray which is squirted up both nostrils. This is a quick and painless way of giving your child a flu vaccination, being absorbed fast, and it is no less effective than an injection.
Is the flu vaccine nasal spray available to children under 2?
No, infants between the age of 6 months and 2 years can have the inactivate flu vaccine by injection. In the UK this is available via the NHS for children in defined at risk groups, with underlying medical conditions. In the US and other countries this is part of the routine vaccine schedule from 6 months of age. Children over the age of 2 years can also have their flu vaccination via injection, if the nasal spray is not suitable for them.
How long will the flu vaccine protect my child for?
Flu vaccines vary each year to protect against the most common, circulating types of flu virus. The vaccine is updated yearly and requires a yearly update for most protection.