Flu vaccines for 2017/18 season

Vaccines for the 2017/18 flu season are expected to be distributed from late September.

The live attenuated intranasal flu vaccine is given to children as part of the routine immunisation schedule. | TEK IMAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The live attenuated intranasal flu vaccine is given to children as part of the routine immunisation schedule. | TEK IMAGE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The trivalent influenza vaccines (Agrippal, Enzira, Imuvac, Influvac and Inactivated Influenza Vaccine BP [Sanofi Pasteur]) now contain the following virus strains:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 as the H1N1-like component 
  • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 as the H3N2-like component (as last season)
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008 as the influenza B component (as last season).

The tetravalent vaccines Fluarix Tetra, Fluenz Tetra and Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (Sanofi Pasteur) contain the additional influenza B strain B/Phuket/3073/2013, as for last season.

Flu vaccination in children

The live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) Fluenz Tetra, which is given as an intranasal spray, continues to be indicated for use in the routine childhood immunisation schedule.

Eligibility and the type of vaccine to offer children under 18 years for the 2017/18 season is as follows:

Eligible cohort Vaccine for children in clinical risk groups Vaccine for children not in clinical risk groups Setting in which it is normally offered

6 months to < 2 years old

Offer suitable inactivated flu vaccine.

Not applicable General practice

2 and 3 years old (but not 4 years or older) on 31 Aug 2017*

Offer LAIV.
If LAIV is medically contraindicated, then offer suitable inactivated flu vaccine.

Offer LAIV (unless medically contraindicated)

General practice

Children in reception class and school
years 1, 2, 3 and 4 (aged 4 to 8 years on 31 Aug 2017)**

Offer LAIV.
If LAIV is medically contraindicated, then offer suitable inactivated flu vaccine.

Offer LAIV (unless medically contraindicated)

School (at-risk children may be offered vaccination in general practice if the school session is late in the season or parents prefer it)

Children in school year 5 and above (aged 9 years or older on 31 Aug 2017) and < 18 years old

Offer LAIV.
If LAIV is medically contraindicated, then offer suitable inactivated flu vaccine.

Not applicable General practice

*Date of birth on or after 1 September 2013 and on or before 31 August 2015.
**Date of birth on or after 1 September 2008 and on or before 31 August 2013.

Giving a second dose of Fluenz Tetra

Most children should be offered a single dose of LAIV as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation considers that a second dose provides only modest additional protection. However, children in clinical risk groups aged 2 to less than 9 years who have not received flu vaccine before should be offered two doses of LAIV, given at least four weeks apart.

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