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HSE launches children’s free nasal spray flu vaccination programme for children aged 2-12 years

HSE launches children’s free nasal spray flu vaccination programme for children aged 2-12 years

Nov. 29, 2023

All CHI locations


Parents are encouraged to protect their children from flu with a free nasal spray flu vaccine.

The vaccine is available for free for all children aged 2-12 years and children aged 13-17 at high risk of flu from participating GP practices and pharmacies. In addition, this year the HSE is extending the programme to offer children in Senior Infants and all children in Primary Age Special Schools their free nasal spray flu vaccine in schools.

Dr Aparna Keegan, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at the HSE National Immunisation Office says:

““Flu is a serious illness that can be dangerous in children. We know that children are twice as likely as adults to catch flu and can spread flu easily to other children. Young children, in particular, are more likely than adults to be very sick from flu. Vaccinating children protects them – and their siblings, parents, grandparents and those who are vulnerable”.

Children are given the nasal vaccine by spraying the vaccine once into each nostril. It is a quick and painless spray. Children can breathe normally and many of them report that it tickles when being given. Getting the nasal spray flu vaccine is a safe, quick, and pain free way to protect children from flu this winter. We are encouraging parents to talk to a participating GP or Pharmacy about getting your child vaccinated for free. The nasal spray flu vaccine may also be available in your school, HSE vaccination teams are offering the vaccine to senior infants and children in special schools”.

While most children who catch flu have mild symptoms, flu can sometimes lead to serious complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis in some children. Children, especially young children, are also more likely than adults to get severe complications of flu. In 2022/2023, 1,274 children under the age of 15 had to be admitted to hospital with influenza.

Symptoms of flu in children can include:

  • High temperature
  • Muscle pains
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness

The flu vaccine gives children the best protection against flu.

Getting the nasal spray flu vaccine

  • All children aged 2 to 12 years and those aged 13-17 years at high risk of flu can get vaccinated from their participating GP or pharmacy for free.
  • Some children will be offered the vaccine in schools; namely children in senior infants and all children in primary-age special schools
  • Visit and search for flu finder to find a participating pharmacy offering the children’s nasal spray flu vaccine.
  • For more information about the children’s nasal flu vaccine visit 

The HSE is also reminding parents of children that it is safe for children to get the flu vaccine any time before or after other vaccines that are recommended for them like the 4 in 1 and MMR vaccines for children in Junior Infants.

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