Flu Vaccine for Children
Update 30/11/2023 – The Department of Health have announced that the free flu vaccine is extended to all children aged from 2 to 17 years from Monday December 4th.
Update 13/02/2024 – Nasal flu vaccine is no longer for this season. Any child needing a vaccine for the remainder of the season will be offered an injection.
Fortune’s Pharmacy provides a flu vaccine service for children aged 6 months and older. Did you know that a child is twice as likely as an adult to get the flu? Flu can be a serious illness in children – your child could develop pneumonia, bronchitis and painful ear injections. Over the last 10 years almost 5000 children were hospitalised in Ireland with the flu. Sadly, 40 children died.
The flu vaccine helps to protect your child from flu and it also stops them spreading flu to those around them.
Children aged 6 months to 2 years receive the vaccine by injection. Those aged 2 years and over receive the vaccine by means of a spray administered in the nose. Some children can’t receive it this way and, if this is the case, they receive it by injection. Examples include children with severe asthma or children living with someone who has a severely weakened immune system. Our pharmacist will inform you if your child needs to receive an injection rather than a nasal spray. Vaccination is not recommended for children aged under 6 months.
Frequently asked questions
- What does the vaccine protect against?
The vaccine protects against four strains of flu virus expected to be in circulation in Ireland this Winter. It needs to be repeated every year.
- Where can I find out more information about the vaccine?
- Is there a charge?
The vaccine is completely free for all children aged between 2 years and 12 years. Children aged between 6 months and 2 years, and aged between 13 and 17 years are free if they are in a high risk category.
- How many doses are needed?
Most children will only need 1 dose of vaccine. Some children with chronic health conditions may need a second dose after 4 weeks if this is their first time getting the flu vaccine. Our pharmacist will advise. The vaccine only protects your child for this flu season.
- Why do you need my child’s Personal Public Service Number (PPSN)?
All vaccines in Ireland are notified to the HSE using the patient’s PPSN.
What are the possible side effects of the flu vaccine for children?
Your child may experience a stuffy or runny nose after receiving the vaccine. They may also experience decreased appetite, fever, headache, muscle ache or generally feel a little unwell. These effects are usually mild and of short duration and are similar to those that occur with other childhood vaccines. We recommend giving your child paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve side effects if they occur. Those getting the vaccine by injection may also experience pain or discomfort at the injection site for a day or two.
What to expect in the pharmacy
A parent or guardian must accompany any child aged under 16 to their vaccine appointment.
Our pharmacist will answer any questions you or your child may have before receiving the vaccine.
Nasal vaccine is administered as a spray in each nostril. The injection is administered in the thigh or upper arm.
We recommend that you leave the pharmacy immediately after the vaccination but remain in the vicinity for 15 minutes. This is in case of anaphylaxis – a serious allergic reaction that is a medical emergency. If your child starts to feel unwell during this time you will need to drop back to us.
Don’t forget to ask about getting a flu shot for yourself as well.