Influenza vaccine added to childhood immunisation schedule

From September 1st, all children aged 2 or 3 years should be offered immunisation against influenza, in an extension of the existing influenza vaccination programme.

The influenza vaccine Fluenz is given as a nasal spray using a single-use applicator | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The influenza vaccine Fluenz is given as a nasal spray using a single-use applicator | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that the live attenuated intranasal vaccine Fluenz be used for childhood vaccination as it is more effective in this age group than inactivated flu vaccines.

Schedule and timing

Fluenz should be given to children between the ages of 2 and 3 prior to the flu season, ideally in September or October. In contrast to the product licence, the JCVI recommends that only a single dose be administered, as the second dose has been shown to provide only modest additional protection. However, children aged 2 to 9 years in clinical risk groups who have not previously received influenza vaccine should be offered two doses of Fluenz at least four weeks apart. Children for whom Fluenz is contraindicated should be offered an injected inactivated influenza vaccine instead.

Contraindications

Fluenz should not be given to children who:

  • are immunodeficient,
  • are hypersensitive to egg or egg proteins, or
  • have severe asthma or active wheezing.

In addition, administration should be postponed if the child has an acute febrile illness or infection.

More information on the Influenza Vaccination programme

View MIMS Routine Childhood Immunisation Schedule table

View Fluenz drug record

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