Child Flu Vaccine Questions

How is the nasal flu vaccine administered?

Giving the nasal flu vaccine takes less than 30 seconds and involves squirting a tiny amount of liquid into each nostril.

Why are children being offered the nasal flu vaccine?

Flu can be very unpleasant for children. It is much more than just a cold. They have the same symptoms as adults – including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat. Some children also develop complications of flu such as a very high fever or chest infection. They may need hospital treatment, and very occasionally a child may die from flu.

For children with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, asthma (needing daily steroid inhalers), heart disease or lung disease, getting flu can be very serious as they are much more at risk of developing serious complications.

The nasal spray flu vaccine will not only help to protect your child from getting flu, it also helps to stop the disease spreading from them to their family, carers and the wider population.

The nasal flu vaccine for children is expected to prevent at least 2,000 deaths from flu in the general population and lead to 11,000 fewer hospitalisations.

Why are children being given the spray instead of the flu jab?

In healthy children, studies have shown that the nasal spray is better at preventing flu than the flu jab. In addition, it’s also needle free, which is a big advantage for children.

Which children can have the nasal flu vaccine?

All children who were aged two, or three on 31/8/17

Children between two and 17 with a long term serious medical condition as above

Are there any children who shouldn’t have the nasal flu vaccine?

Yes. These include; children with a severely weakened immune system, children with an allergy to eggs or any of the vaccine ingredients such as neomycin and gelatin, children with severe asthma or active wheezing at the time of vaccination.

Why is the nasal flu vaccine only being given to children aged two and three?

The nasal vaccine isn’t given to children under two because of studies showing high rates of wheezing in these children. But don’t worry, if they’re in a high risk group, they can still have the flu jab rather than the spray.

My child has a long term medical condition and used to get the flu jab every year. What now?

Because the nasal spray works better in children, if your child is over 2 and has a serious long term condition they will now receive the nasal flu vaccine. If they are under 2, they will continue to receive the flu jab.

Does the nasal flu vaccine contain gelatin?

use of porcine derivatives in vaccines

Please click above to read a useful document on why porcine products are used in some vaccines.

Yes. In order for the vaccine to work, the weakened flu viruses need to be stuck to a protein. Gelatin derived from porcine protein works best. The gelatin is a highly purified medical grade product which is chemically broken down to the peptide level before being used in the vaccine. Peptides are the molecular building blocks which make up gelatin.  

In 1995 the World Health Organisation consulted 112 leading Muslim scholars and clerics from around the world regarding the permissibility of using medication containing gelatin from a pig. 

They concluded that: “  the gelatin formed as a result from the transformation of the bones, skin and tendons of a judicially impure animal is pure and it is permissible to eat it”

Also, The Kashrus and Medicines Information Service, which is the Kosher Certification organisation for the UK states that according to Jewish laws, there is no problem with porcine or other animal derived ingredients in non-oral products.

I would like my child to have the flu jab instead of the nasal vaccine. Is this possible?

No, unless your child has a serious long term condition.

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