Thank you for contacting me about the nasal spray flu vaccine.
Flu immunisation is a key part of the Government’s immunisation programme. I agree that safety is paramount and this programme is based on the advice and recommendations of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
In 2012, the JCVI recommended that the routine annual flu immunisation programme be extended to all children aged two to under 17 years. A phased introduction commenced in 2013, and since the 2015/16 flu season, the flu vaccine has been offered to all children who are two, three and four years old, and to all children of school years 1 and 2 age across the UK.
The programme aims to ultimately substantially reduce flu-related illness, GP consultations, hospital admissions and deaths in the population as well as raising awareness of the benefits of flu immunisation amongst parents and children. For those children who cannot have this vaccine for medical reasons, there are suitable alternative inactivated injectable vaccines. The JCVI carefully reviews evidence from flu outbreaks across the world every year, much of which demonstrates good overall effectiveness. Recently, the JCVI continues to recommend using the nasal spray vaccine for preventing flu in children and strongly supports the continuation of the UK childhood influenza immunisation programme.
I can assure you that Public Health England and the JCVI keeps all immunisation matters under review, including the safety and efficacy of a programme. For the 2017/18 flu season, Public Health England administered the country’s largest ever vaccination programme, which included greater immunisation of children at school than ever before.