Preparing for flu season: Vaccination programme expanded
With September comes the beginning of school — and also the start of flu season. That’s why more younger age groups are being encouraged to have a flu vaccination.
The flu increases pressure on health and care systems every winter, and vaccination is said to be the best protection. That’s why the vaccination programme is being expanded to secondary school-aged pupils in years seven to 11, including those who are home-schooled or not in mainstream education, unless parents object to the vaccine on the grounds of its porcine gelatine content.
The vaccine is already offered regularly to people who are expecting, children aged two or three years old (on 31 August before flu vaccinations start in autumn), primary school-aged children, older people and those with health conditions that put them at greater risk.
The vaccine is being offered more widely to reduce the chance for flu to spread. The goal is to reduce flu levels in the community during the winter when there may be pressure on the NHS with coronavirus (COVID-19) and other respiratory viruses in circulation.
Flu can be a very unpleasant illness causing fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sore throat, extreme tiredness as well as aching muscles and joints. It can last several days or more. Some people develop complications and need to go to hospital for treatment.
Programme for secondary school-aged children
The vaccine for secondary school-aged children is offered as a nasal spray. It contains weakened viruses that help people to build immunity.
Make sure you’re protected. Different vaccines are available for different people depending on their age or existing health conditions.
View the resources below for more information.
National flu immunisation programme, 2023 to 2024
Which flu vaccine should my child have?