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Influenza Vaccine in Children
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Influenza Vaccine in Children

Influenza Vaccine in Children

This year, flu vaccination and staying healthy is especially important due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic!

What is influenza?

Influenza viruses are one of the most common causes of colds and chest infections. These viruses cause outbreaks in the winter, resulting in what is known as the seasonal flu. This can cause various symptoms, including a stuffy nose, fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills, and aching muscles. Some people are more susceptible to the flu and are at higher risk of developing serious illnesses such as ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia, which can sometimes also lead to untimely death.

Why is the flu vaccine important?

Getting the flu vaccine is important because it not only decreases the risk of catching the flu for the vaccinated child, but it also decreases the risk of spreading it to other more susceptible people, such as grandparents. However, this year getting the vaccine is more important than ever. This is because, due to the social distancing measures we observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people than usual caught the flu last year, meaning that less people than usual have developed immunity for this flu season. The potential for serious infections is, therefore, much higher.

About the flu vaccine

After having had the vaccine, immunity takes 2 weeks to fully develop so it is important to have it as early as possible, ideally between September and early November, to ensure protection for the 2021/2022 flu season.

Several types of vaccines are available:

Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV)

  • Recommended for children aged 2 years to less than 18 years
  • Nasal spray
  • Offers broader protection than inactivated vaccines
  • Contains porcine gelatine
  • Approved by the Kashrut and Medicines Information Service

Egg-grown quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIVe)

  • Recommended for children aged 6 months to less than 2 years of age
  • Injectable

Cell-grow quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIVc)

  • Available for children in which LAIV is contraindicated or declined
  • Injectable
  • Approved by the Muslim Council of Britain

Who is eligible?

Children aged 6 months to under 2 years in at-risk groups

  • All in GP practice

All children aged 2 years to less than 16 years

  • Aged 2 to less than 4 years old in GP practice
  • Aged 4 to less than 11 years old in primary school immunisation service
  • Aged 11 to less than 16 years old in secondary school immunisation service

Children aged 16 years to less than 18 years in at-risk groups

  • All in GP practice

What vaccine should your child have?

Under 6 months

Too young to have the flu vaccine.

6 months to under 2 years

Are they in an at risk group?

Yes – QIVe vaccine

No – Not eligible

2 years to less than 16 years

Is the LAIV vaccine contraindicated or unsuitable?

Yes – QIVc vaccine

No – LAIV vaccine

16 years to less than 18 years

Are they in an at risk group?

Yes – LAIV vaccine OR QIVc if LAIV vaccine contraindicated or unsuitable

No – Not eligible

Common side effects

  • Mild fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore arm

Call reception and book a flu vaccine for your child today!

Your child is at-risk if they have:

  • A heart problem
  • A chest complaint or serious breathing difficulties
  • A kidney disease
  • Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
  • Diabetes
  • A neurological condition, such as cerebral palsy,
  • A learning disability
  • A problem with their spleen, such as sickle cell disease

Call reception and book a flu vaccine for your child today!


I have a fever can I have the flu vaccine? – Postpone the vaccine if you have a fever. It’s okay for you to have it if you only have a cold.

How long does it take to become effective? 10 to 14 days.

Can the flu vaccine cause flu? – No. Injectable vaccine has no live virus. Nasal vaccine viruses are attenuated and can only replicate at lower temperatures found in the nose.

Other vaccines recently given, do I need to wait? – No, all influenza vaccines can be given at the same time as other vaccines.


Taubenberger, J. K., & Morens, D. M. (2008). The Pathology of Influenza Virus Infections. Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease, 3(1).

Solomon, D. A., Sherman, A. C., & Kanjilal, S. (2020). Influenza in the COVID-19 Era. JAMA, 324(13).

Public Health England 2021, National flu immunisation programme 2021 to 2022 letter. GOV.UK. Available at:
[Accessed 27 September 2021]

Public Health England 2021, Appendix F: Children’s influenza vaccination programme. GOV.UK. Available at:
[Accessed 27 September 2021]

Muslim Council of Britain 2020. Operation vaccination campaign. Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Available at:
[Accessed October 5, 2021].

Public Health England 2020, Vaccines and porcine gelatine. GOV.UK. Available at:
[Accessed October 5, 2021].


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