Parents urged to make sure children get flu vaccine

Date published: 17 September 2018

All parents and guardians of eligible children are urged to take up the offer of free flu vaccination to help prevent the spread of the virus. The vaccine is being offered to pre-school and primary school children.

Getting the vaccine

The flu virus spreads through the air. Because young children don’t always cover their noses or mouths when coughing or sneezing, the virus can spread very quickly among them. 

The free flu vaccine for children provides them with the best defence against the illness and helps protect their wider family and friends.

Pre-school children in Northern Ireland aged two years and over are eligible to get the vaccine through their GP.

Children in primaries one to seven will be offered the vaccine in school.

In addition, people over 65, ‘at risk’ children and adults, and pregnant women, can get the vaccine at their doctor’s surgery.

Some GPs may not invite all of their registered patients who are eligible for vaccination directly.

If you, or someone in your care, is eligible to be vaccinated but does not get an invitation, contact your GP to find out more about their flu vaccination clinics.

The vaccine changes each year to cover the strains which are likely to be circulating over the course of the flu season, so it's important to get immunised each year.

As it takes approximately two weeks following vaccination to develop maximum protection against flu, it's important to get vaccinated. If you wait until flu starts circulating, it may be too late for the vaccine to protect you, so get the flu vaccine and stay well this winter.

Nasal spray

Most children will get the vaccine through a quick and painless nasal spray. The nasal vaccine has been shown to provide even greater protection for children than the flu injection.

There are a few children who cannot get the nasal spray and they will be offered the injection instead.

You can find out more on the flu vaccine for children page.

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