All secondary school pupils in England will be offered a free flu vaccine from September for the 2023/24 season, the government has confirmed.
Over 3 million pupils in secondary school years 7 to 11 will be offered the vaccine as a nasal spray through their school’s vaccination programme from 1 September.
Here’s what you need to know.
When can my child get a flu vaccine?
- Starting in September, all secondary school students in England will be offered a flu vaccine for the 2023/24 season.
Why should my child get a flu vaccine?
- In addition to directly protecting kids receiving the vaccine, the expansion indirectly protects more vulnerable groups by reducing the spread among the wider population, reducing the number of people falling ill with flu and easing the burden on the NHS.
- Children's attendance levels at school tend to drop during the winter due to illness, so taking the flu vaccine will also protect their education by reducing the number of school days missed.
Do I need to book an appointment for my child?
- There is no need to book an appointment. The vaccine will be offered as a nasal spray through the school’s vaccination programme.
- Consent letters will be sent out to parents and guardians prior to the school clinics with information on the flu vaccination.
- The vaccine will be delivered by school age immunisation (SAIS) providers through the autumn term, with teams of clinical staff, including paediatric nurses and school nurses running clinics in schools on set days.
- For those not attending school – such as those home schooled, parents and young people – can book in for their flu vaccine with their community clinic.
Who else can get a flu vaccine this autumn?
The following groups will be eligible for a free flu vaccination from September:
- those aged 65 years and over
- those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups (as defined by the Green Book, chapter 19 (Influenza))
- pregnant women
- all children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023
- primary school aged children (from Reception to Year 6)
- all secondary school pupils in Years 7 to 11
- those in long-stay residential care homes
- carers in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- frontline workers in a social care setting without an employer-led occupational health scheme including those working for a registered residential care or nursing home, registered domiciliary care providers, voluntary managed hospice providers and those that are employed by those who receive direct payments (personal budgets) or Personal Health budgets, such as Personal Assistants