Getting the flu is horrible. It can cause:
- a fever
- a blocked nose
- sore throat
- and tiredness.
In the most serious cases, it can lead to bronchitis and pneumonia.
The FREE nasal spray is the best defence children have against the flu. It's quick, safe and - because it is a spray rather than injection - painless too!
Thousands more children will become Flu Fighters and join the battle against influenza this winter as the annual vaccination programme takes place in Wolverhampton's schools this autumn.
Who can have it?
The FREE flu nasal spray is offered in school to all primary aged children and secondary aged children in years 7–11. It is also available to all children aged two and three, and those with some long-term health conditions, through their GP. Children aged between two and 17 can have the flu vaccine via an injection if the nasal spray is not suitable for them.
The vaccine takes around three weeks to give people maximum protection, so make sure your children have theirs when it is offered at school. And, because the virus mutates every year, children should get vaccinated every 12 months.
For more information about the flu vaccine, please visit nhs.uk/child-flu and view our Frequently Asked Questions below.
Flu Fighters Versus Chilly, Achy and Snotty
Read how our heroes Amy, Raj and Daniel became Flu Fighters to defeat the trio of evil invading aliens from the Planet Bogey in 2018’s free storybook. Get your copy from the download section.
Flu Fighters in… The Battle of Planet Bogey
Read how our fearless Flu Fighters get on against Lord Fever and his fiendish friends in 2019’s free storybook, The Battle of Planet Bogey! Get your copy from the download section.
Flu Fighters in Close Encounters of the Germed Kind
Read how the Flu Fighters fare as Lord Fever launches his biggest invasion yet in 2020's free story book, Close Encounters of the Germed Kind! Get your copy from the download section.
Flu Fighters in the Vacc-tastic Voyage
The Flu Fighters have returned to help protect children from flu in our 2021's free story book, Vacc-tastic Voyage! Get your copy from the download section.
Please contact your child’s school to find out more information about when they will be able to receive a flu vaccination.
Nasal Flu vaccinations will take place at St Matthias for all pupils between 3.00pm - 5.00pm on the following dates for each year group.
- Monday 24th January – Year 7
- Tuesday 25th January – Year 8
- Wednesday 26th January – Year 9
- Thursday 27th January – Year 10
- Friday 28th January – Year 11
Pupils must have a signed consent form that they can bring with them on the day of their vaccine.
Children in primary and secondary school will receive their vaccine in the school setting.
Children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August will receive their vaccine in the GP setting.
Your child’s School or GP will contact you about getting vaccinated before the winter.
Flu is a disease that spreads very rapidly, potentially causing widespread illness, especially in those who are already vulnerable because of their age or medical condition. So if children are vaccinated against flu they will not only benefit directly by being protected themselves, they will also reduce the spread of flu and help protect the whole population. In particular, they will help to protect those children and adults who cannot or do not have the vaccine.
No. As with all immunisations, flu vaccinations for children are optional. However, this vaccine will help protect them from what can be an unpleasant illness, as well as stopping them spreading flu to vulnerable friends and relatives.
Most children will be offered the Fluenz nasal spray. This is a single spray squirted up each nostril. It is needle free, quick and painless.
The nasal flu vaccine is more effective than the injected vaccine and is therefore the preferred option. Injected flu vaccines are only usually recommended as part of the programme for children and adults who are at high risk of the complications of flu.
No. The vaccine contains viruses that have been weakened to prevent them from causing flu.
The flu virus enters the body through the nose and mouth. From there it is transmitted to the throat and upper airways where it rapidly replicates and goes on to cause the symptoms of flu. Because Fluenz also enters the body through the nose it mimics the flu virus and results in a better immune response than an injected vaccine.
This means that, compared with injected and less active vaccines, Fluenz:
- Is more effective
- Provides protection for longer
- May offer protection against slightly different types of flu virus
- Is easier to give and more comfortable to have
The vaccine contains live but weakened flu viruses that do not cause flu in children. It will help your child build up immunity to flu in a similar way as natural infection, but without symptoms.
Because the main flu viruses change each year, a new nasal spray vaccine has to be given each year.
Yes, the vaccine contains a highly processed form of gelatine that is derived from pigs – porcine gelatine. This gelatine helps to keep the vaccine viruses stable to ensure it provides the best protection against flu.
Gelatine is used in a very wide range of medicines, including many capsules and some vaccines. Porcine gelatine is used in vaccines as a stabiliser – to ensure that the vaccine remains safe and effective during storage.
Vaccine manufacturers normally test a wide range of stabilisers and choose one that is stable, good quality and available in sufficient volume. Unlike the gelatine used in foods, the product used in vaccines is highly purified and broken down into very small molecules called peptides.
Developing a vaccine takes many years of laboratory testing and clinical studies to ensure that it is both safe and effective. Once the manufacturer has chosen the stabiliser for the vaccine, any change in this could require extensive laboratory and clinical studies to show that the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine has not been affected. Because of this, developing a new safe and effective vaccine with a different stabiliser may take several years or may never happen.
There are injectable flu vaccines that do not contain pork gelatine, but these are expected to be less effective than Fluenz Tetra® in children. They may also do less
to reduce the spread of flu in the community. These vaccines are usually recommended as part of the programme for children and adults who are at high risk of the complications of flu.
Public Health England (PHE) has consulted with the Kashrut and Medicines Information Service, who said: ‘It should be noted that according to Jewish laws, there is no problem with porcine or other animal derived ingredients in non-oral products. This includes vaccines, including those administered via the nose, injections, suppositories, creams and ointments.’
The Muslim Council of Britain position states ‘that vaccines containing porcine are not permitted in Islam unless lives are at risk and there are no alternatives. Muslims should not automatically refuse treatment. Health is paramount, anyone concerned about the use of gelatine in vaccines must consult a medical practitioner and make an informed decision.’
PHE acknowledges that there is diversity within the British Muslim and Jewish communities and they, and some other groups, may consider medicines and vaccines containing any porcine product to be forbidden. In these circumstances, it is likely that the individual would be unable to accept many pharmaceutical products unless there was no suitable alternative and/or the product was considered life-saving.
For more information on the flu vaccine for children click the following links:
For more information on the pork content of the vaccine click the following link: