This flu season, children aged two to 17 years can get the nasal flu vaccine free of charge in selected Boots pharmacies.* Not only will getting the flu vaccine help protect your child against flu, but it'll also help reduce the spread of flu to others.
How do I book an appointment?
Call from end of August to find an appointment in your preferred store and to complete a pre-consultation form.* Please note that the service is available in selected pharmacies only.** If it isn’t available at your desired pharmacy, why not try another one nearby?
Learn more about the child nasal flu vaccination and appointment consultation, through our video here.
HOW IT WORKS
What is flu?
Flu is a common viral infection that’s easily spread to other people through coughs and sneezes.
Flu symptoms include:
• Sore throat
• Aching body
Viruses that cause flu are most common during the winter months. Children who are sick with flu often miss days in crèche, childcare and school. They also miss out on their usual activities, including hobbies and sports.
Whilst most children who get the flu will have mild symptoms, some children can get complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis and may need hospital treatment. In rarer cases, children may die from complications of flu.
Who is suitable for the nasal flu vaccine for children?
The nasal vaccine is recommended for all children aged two to 17 years of age, except those who fall into the following categories:
• They've had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients
• They have severe asthma (or have been wheezy or needed their inhaler more than usual in the three days before the vaccination)
• They are taking medicines called salicylates, which include aspirin
• They have a severely weakened immune system because of certain medical conditions or treatments
• They are living with someone who has a severely weakened immune system, for example, a person who recently had a bone marrow transplant
Some children who may not be eligible for the nasal flu vaccine may be able to receive the flu vaccine as an injection. Speak to your doctor for more details.
In some cases, your child’s nasal vaccination may need to be delayed in order to ensure it’s as effective as possible. Your pharmacist will recommend it be delayed in the following circumstances:
• If your child is unwell and has a high temperature
• If your child has a very blocked or runny nose
How is the vaccine given?
At the appointment, one of our specially trained pharmacists will administer the vaccine as a single spray in each nostril of your child's nose. Don’t worry, your child can breathe normally while they’re getting the vaccine.
Most children need only one dose of the vaccine each year. Some children aged two to eight years of age with a chronic health condition may need two doses. The doses are given four weeks apart if they’ve never had a flu vaccine. Speak to your pharmacist for more information.
Are there any side effects to the nasal flu vaccine?
The children’s flu vaccination has been given to children in the US since 2003 and in the UK since 2013, with millions of children having been vaccinated safely. It’s generally well tolerated and there’s no evidence that you can catch the flu from the vaccine.
Children’s flu vaccination side effects are generally mild and include the following:
• A runny or blocked nose
• Muscle aches
Serious side effects, such as a severe allergic reaction, are rare.
How long will the appointment take?
The in-store appointment will take roughly 15 minutes. To help reduce the amount of time you need to spend in store, our pharmacy team may contact you in advance to ask some questions, provide you with some information about the service and to help determine if the service is suitable for your child.
It's also important that you and your child stay in-store, or close by, for 15 minutes after the vaccination, just in case they have any immediate side effects.
Keeping safe during your appointment
Looking after our customers and colleagues remains our top priority, and this has never been more important than right now.
Please don’t come into store for an appointment if you, your child or anyone in your household has any COVID-19 symptoms. These include a high temperature, a continuous cough, shortness of breath, or loss or change in sense of taste or smell. Instead please cancel the appointment for your child and rebook for a later date.
Only one parent and one child can attend an appointment at any one time. When you arrive for your child’s appointment, we’ll ask you to wear a face mask during your child’s consultation, which we can provide. We’ll also ask you and your child to clean your hands using alcohol gel before and after entering our consultation room.
Where can I find more information?
Visit the HSE website for more information about the nasal flu vaccine for children.
View the Patient Information Leaflet.
*Vaccination service subject to specially trained pharmacist and vaccine availability. Selected stores only. Eligibility criteria apply.
**Subject to store opening times, vaccine stock and specially trained pharmacist availability.