1: In 2020/21, flu vaccinations will be offered under the NHS flu vaccination programme to the following groups:
- all children aged two to eleven (but not twelve years or older) on 31 August 2020
- people aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2021)
- those aged from six months to less than 65 years of age, in a clinical risk group such as those with:
- chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma,
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five
- chronic liver disease
- chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease,
- learning disability
- splenic dysfunction or asplenia
- a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
- morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above)
- all pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
- household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, or of immunocompromised individuals, specifically individuals who expect to share living accommodation with a shielded patient on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable
- people living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This does not include, for instance, prisons, young offender institutions, university halls of residence, or boarding schools (except where children are of primary school age or secondary school Year 7).
 Only at clinical risk children may be vaccinated at the GP surgery. Not at clinical risk children will be vaccinated through the schools programme.
- those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill
- health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza.
- health and care staff, employed by a voluntary managed hospice provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza.
- health and social care workers employed through Direct Payments (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users.
2: Additionally, in 2020/21, flu vaccinations might be offered under the NHS flu vaccination programme to the following groups:
- individuals between 50-64 years, following prioritisation of other eligible groups and subject to vaccine supply
3: Organisations should vaccinate all frontline health and social care workers, in order to meet their responsibility to protect their staff and patients and ensure the overall safe running of services.
4: The list above is not exhaustive, and the healthcare professional should apply clinical judgement to take into account the risk of flu exacerbating any underlying disease that a patient may have, as well as the risk of serious illness from flu itself.
Q: My child missed the flu vaccine at school – can they have it at the GP?
A: At risk children who are eligible for flu vaccination via the school-based programme because of their age will be offered immunisation at school. However, these children are also eligible to receive vaccination in general practice if the school session is late in the season, parents prefer it, or they missed the session at school. Not at risk children aged 4-17 are not eligible for a flu vaccine in general practice.
Q: I am over 50. Can I have a vaccine?
A: We aim to further extend the vaccine programme in November and December to include the 50-64 year old age group subject to vaccine supply. This extension is being phased. Please stay up to date on our website for news on when this is being made available.
Q: I am a health and social care worker. Where should I have my vaccine?
A: All frontline health and social care workers should receive a vaccination this season. This should be provided by their employer, in order to meet their responsibility to protect their staff and patients and ensure the overall safe running of services. Employers should commission a service which makes access easy to the vaccine for all frontline staff, encourage staff to get vaccinated, and monitor the delivery of their programmes
Q: My child is at risk – but you’ve got no clinics on. When can they have a vaccine?
A: We’re phasing our approach and child vaccine clinics will likely be available from mid to late October. Keep up to date using our website to stay informed. All clinically at risk children will receive an invite.
Q: I live with someone who is shielding. Can I have a vaccine?
Q: I live with a health and social care worker, am I eligible?
A: If you don’t fit any other eligibility criteria, then no, but you can purchase one at a local pharmacy.
Children’s flu vaccine FAQs
Why is it just younger children who are routinely given the nasal spray flu vaccine?
The children’s flu vaccination programme is being rolled out in stages. This year (2020/21) it is routinely being offered to all children aged 2 and 3 at their GP surgery, plus all primary school children have be offered the vaccine, and this year includes children in school year 7.
All children with a health condition that puts them at greater risk from flu should have a flu vaccination every year from the age of 6 months onwards. Most will have the nasal spray vaccine, but it should not be given to children under the age of 2 years. These children will be offered an injected vaccine.
Why can’t under-2s have a nasal spray flu vaccine?
The nasal spray vaccine isn’t licensed for children younger than 2 because it can be linked to wheezing in children this age.
Why aren’t children being given the injected flu vaccine instead of a nasal spray?
The nasal spray flu vaccine is more effective than the injected flu vaccine, so it’s the preferred option.
Will the flu vaccine give my child flu?
No. The vaccine contains viruses that have been weakened to prevent them causing flu.
Does the nasal vaccine contain pork?
Yes, the nasal spray contains a highly processed form of gelatin (porcine gelatin), which is used in a range of essential medicines.
The gelatin helps to keep the vaccine viruses stable so that the vaccine provides the best protection against flu.
Can my child have the injected vaccine that doesn’t contain gelatin instead?
The nasal vaccine provides good protection against flu, particularly in young children. It also reduces the risk to, for example, a baby brother or sister who is too young to be vaccinated, as well as other family members (for example, grandparents) who may be more vulnerable to the complications of flu.
The injected vaccine is not being offered to healthy children as part of the children’s flu vaccination programme. However, if your child is at high risk from flu due to one or more medical conditions or treatments and can’t have the nasal flu vaccine they should have the flu vaccine by injection.
Some faith groups accept the use of porcine gelatin in medical products – the decision is, of course, up to you.
Please don’t be afraid to chat to us if you have any further questions or want to explore further options. Please let us know if you’re refusing the vaccine on the grounds of the gelatin content.
Does my child have to have the nasal spray flu vaccine?
No. As with all immunisations, flu vaccinations for children are optional. Remember, though, that 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.
Does the flu vaccine contain covid?
No. Steps taken to reduce transmission from close contact with people outside your household. The vaccination itself contains inactive strains of the influenza virus to help white blood cells recognise and fight infection and thus reduce your chances of complications from seasonal influenza.