Children's flu vaccine FAQs

Does my child have to have the nasal spray flu vaccine? 

Why can't under-twos have the nasal spray flu vaccine? 

Why is it just younger children who are being given the nasal spray flu vaccine? 

Why aren't children being vaccinated with the flu injection instead of the nasal spray?   

Will the flu vaccine give my child flu?  

The nasal vaccine contains products derived from pigs. Does my faith prevent me from giving my child the nasal spray flu vaccine?

Can my child have the injected vaccine that doesn't contain gelatine instead?

Does my child have to have the nasal spray flu vaccine?

No. As with all immunisations, flu vaccinations for children are optional. Remember, though, that this vaccine will protect them from what can be an unpleasant illness, as well as stopping them spreading flu to vulnerable friends and relatives.

Read more about flu.

Why can't under-twos have a nasal spray flu vaccine?

The nasal spray vaccine isn't licensed for children younger than two because it's linked to wheezing in children this age.

Why is it just younger children who are routinely being given the nasal spray flu vaccine?

The children's flu vaccination programme is being rolled out in stages.

It is routinely offered this year (2016-17) to all children aged two, three and four years old, plus children in school years one, two and three. 

In some areas all primary school children will be offered the vaccine.

Over the next few years, the programme will be gradually extended to include children in other age groups.

All children aged between six months and two years who are at risk of flu because of an underlying health condition are already eligible for the injected flu vaccine.

Why aren't children being given the injected flu vaccine instead of a nasal spray?

The nasal spray flu vaccine is more effective than the injected flu vaccine, so it's the preferred option.

Will the flu vaccine give my child flu?

No. The vaccine contains viruses that have been weakened to prevent them causing flu.

Does the nasal vaccine contain pork?

The nasal spray contains a highly processed form of gelatine derived from pigs.

Although certified as acceptable by some faith groups, including representatives from Jewish and Muslim communities, there is considerable diversity in the Muslim community.

Some scholars from the majority Hanafi community in England have stated that porcine gelatine is not permissible.

Some parents may want to balance the constraints of their faith against the benefits of vaccination.

Read more about the nasal spray vaccine and gelatine (PDF, 181kb).

Can my child have the injected vaccine that doesn't contain gelatine instead?

The nasal vaccine offers the best protection for your child and it reduces the risk to others, including those too young to be vaccinated and those who may be more vulnerable to the complications of flu.

The injected vaccine is not thought to reduce the spread as effectively, so it's not being offered to healthy children as part of this programme.

If your child is at high risk from flu as the result of one or more medical conditions or treatments and can't have the nasal flu vaccine because of this, they should have the flu vaccine by injection.

Page last reviewed: 10/07/2016

Next review due: 10/07/2019


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Flu jab FAQs

Answers to common questions and concerns about the flu jab

All about flu

Find out more about flu, including how to treat it and how to stop it spreading