Many parents have questions about the flu and the childhood immunisation programme. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions to support you to make an informed decision on vaccination for you and your family.
What are the differences between flu, coronavirus (COVID-19) and the common cold?
Does the flu vaccine protect against the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
No - the flu vaccine helps to protect your child against the flu, but does not protect against COVID-19.5,6
Why is it important to vaccinate your children against flu?
Vaccinating your child will help to protect them from flu.1 By making the flu virus less able to spread, vaccinating your child can also help to protect others in your family who could be at greater risk from flu, such as grandparents or those with long-term health conditions.8
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Will the vaccine give my child the flu?
Does the nasal vaccine contain gelatine derived from pigs (porcine gelatine)?
How does the vaccine work? My child is afraid of needles.
How can I make sure that my child is vaccinated? Can you explain the step-by-step process?
The NHS Seasonal Flu Immunisation Programme offers a free nasal spray flu vaccine to all eligible children in England aged 2 and 3 years old, school children in Reception to Year 7, and those clinically at risk aged 2-17 years.11
There may be some variance across the UK within the other devolved nations; please check with your GP, nurse or pharmacist.
For more information about when and how your child will be vaccinated against the flu, please get in touch with your GP, practice nurse or your child’s school.
If you choose to vaccinate your child, vaccinations may take place between September and November each year to ensure children are protected before the flu season begins.8
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1. NHS Website. Flu. August 2019. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/
2. Public Health England. Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person. July 2020. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person
3. NHS Website. Check if you or your child have coronavirus symptoms. August 2020. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/
4. World Health Organization. Coronavirus. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1 [Last accessed August 2020]
5. Oxford Vaccine Group. Coronavirus COVID-19. March 2020. Available at: https://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/coronavirus
6. Fluenz Tetra nasal spray suspension Influenza vaccine (live attenuated, nasal). Patient Information Leaflet. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/3296/pil?urlTarget=_blank (Accessed July 2020)
7. NHS Website. Common Cold. December 2017. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/common-cold/
8. Public Health England: Protecting your child against flu. Information for parents. Flu immunisation in England. July 2020. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/905421/PHE_protecting_child_against_flu_leaflet_2020.pdf
9. Department of Health and Social Care. Summary of JCVI consideration of the number of doses of influenza vaccine for influenza vaccine-naïve children. March 2013. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/225425/JCVI_summary_-_number_doses_flu_vaccine_-_final.pdf
10. Public Health England. Green Book. Chapter 19. Influenza. April 2019. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/796886/GreenBook_Chapter_19_Influenza_April_2019.pdf
11. Whitty C, Doyle Y, & Powis S. The national flu immunisation programme 2020-21 - update. 5 August 2020. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907149/Letter_annualflu_2020_to_2021_update.pdf