Children’s Flu Vaccine

Beechlawn Medical Centre are rolling out our 2020 Winter Flu Vaccine for children from Saturday, October 17th. To book an appointment at one of our dedicated Child Flu Vaccination Clinics, please contact our admin staff by telephone after 3pm weekdays.

As you may be aware, this will be administered free-of-charge to children between the ages of 2 years and 12 years via a nasal spray. Please see below for further information about the flu, the vaccine and how we hope to administer it in our clinic.

What is the flu??

Influenza (flu) is a very infectious illness caused by the flu virus which spreads very easily infecting both children and adults. Most children who get the flu have mild symptoms, however every winter some children can get complications of flu, such as pneumonia, bronchitis and encephalitis (which is rare). Additionally, even if they get mild symptoms children will miss days in crèche, school and childcare.

In the last 10 years in Ireland, 5000 children were admitted to hospital with complications of flu, with almost 200 children requiring treatment in intensive care.

Please read this for more information on the flu.

Children’s Flu Vaccine

By getting the flu vaccine, your child can be protected against the flu and reduce the spread to others. This is especially important currently given the ongoing concern around the coronavirus pandemic and the potential for our hospitals to be overwhelmed by unwell people requiring help.

I would like my children to get the vaccine. Is it safe for them?

Yes it is! All vaccines have been thoroughly tested to ensure they will not harm you or your child.

The flu vaccine for children has been given to children in the US since 2003 and in the UK since 2013 and can be administered to children from six months of age. Those between the ages of 2 and 12 years may be able to receive the vaccine nasally.

What is the nasal flu vaccine?

Children aged 2 to 12 can now get the nasal flu vaccine for free. It will be available  from the middle of October.

It is given as a single spray in each nostril of your child’s nose.

Your child can breathe normally while getting the vaccine. There is no need to take a deep breath or sniff.

The vaccine is not painful and is absorbed quickly. It will work even if your child has a runny nose, sneezes or blows their nose after the vaccination.

Most children need only 1 dose of the vaccine each year. Some children with chronic health conditions like chronic heart or lung conditions may need 2 doses, given 4 weeks apart.

Your child should not get the nasal vaccine if they:

  • have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients
  • have severe asthma or if they have been wheezy or needed their inhaler more than usual in the 3 days before the vaccination
  • are taking medicines called salicylates, which include aspirin
  • have a severely weakened immune system because of certain medical conditions or treatments
  • are living with someone who has a severely weakened immune system  – for example, a person who recently had a bone marrow transplant
  • are unwell with a high temperature
  • are between 6 months and 2 years of age.

Instead, speak to your GP about getting the vaccine as an injection.

If your child is 6 months to 2 years of age and is in a high-risk group for flu, they will be offered a flu vaccine injection, as the nasal spray is not licensed for children under the age of 2.

Please note, we will ask all those receiving the nasal flu vaccines to remain on the premises or in their cars for 15 minutes following its administration.

Side effects of the nasal flu vaccine

The most common side effects are mild and include:

  • a runny or blocked nose
  • headache
  • muscle aches

Some children get a fever (temperature) after the vaccine. It is usually mild and goes away on its own.

If your child has a fever or a headache, you can give them paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Aspirin, or any medicines that contain aspirin, should never be given to children unless prescribed by a doctor.

This is especially important in the 4 weeks after getting the flu vaccine.

Serious side effects such as a severe allergic reaction are rare.

There is no evidence that you can catch flu from the nasal flu spray.

Please see the HSE website for further information.