Flu vaccinations are available each year through your GP Practice or local pharmacy to help protect adults and children at risk from flu and its complications. Flu vaccination is important because more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill. Getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses. If you've had COVID-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.
This season a
free flu vaccination is offered to the following eligible groups:
- all children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023
- all primary school aged children
- secondary school-aged children (years 7, 8 and 9, with any remaining vaccine being offered to years 10 and 11)
- pregnant women
As with the COVID-19 vaccine, flu vaccines are available from a range of different providers, including GPs, community pharmacies, hospital appointments and schools. Those eligible will be contacted directly.
Further information on eligibility can be found at
Flu vaccine (NHS). Further information on which children are eligible each year and where the vaccinations will be offered can be found at Children's flu vaccine (NHS).
Colds and influenza spread very easily. Young children, in particular, can be at risk of becoming unwell, as their immune systems are still developing.
A range of services and organisations will be delivering this year’s vaccination programme.
Further information will be circulated about where different groups should attend to receive their vaccination.
Read more on
flu vaccine and eligibility.
Here are 5 reasons your under-5s should have the flu vaccine:
- Protect your child: Children under 5 have the highest hospitalisation rate due to flu – 6,000 in England last winter. Vaccination cuts the hospitalisation risk by around two-thirds. It helps protect against complications like pneumonia and painful ear infections.
- Protect family and friends: Pre-schoolers are excellent at spreading germs! Vaccinating your child helps reduce the chance of others in your family who are higher risk, like grandparents or those with long-term conditions, getting flu.
- No needles: The nasal spray is painless and easy to have. It contains weakened flu viruses to help your child build immunity and fight off flu. The vaccine is absorbed into the nose really quickly, so even if your child sneezes right after, it still works. For children who can’t have the nasal spray for medical reasons, an injection is available
- It’s better than having flu: The nasal spray helps protect against flu, has been given to millions of children in the UK and worldwide, and has an excellent safety record. In the last few years, the protection that children get from vaccination has been consistently higher than for adults. The vaccine is updated yearly to match flu strains, so we recommend vaccinating yearly, even if vaccinated last year.
- Avoid costs and time off work: Juggling a sick child and work is tough. Vaccinating isn't just about your child's health, it's smart for parents. If your child gets flu, you may have to take time off or find childcare. The nasal spray vaccine means fewer missed workdays and is free on the NHS.
Get your family winter strong by booking in eligible under-5s with your GP practice or making sure you sign a consent form if one is sent home from school.