Nasal spray flu vaccine launched for children

The nasal spray flu vaccine that would be used to vaccinate healthy children if they are added to annual flu schemes is now available in the UK.

Girl receiving vaccine (Photo: Fluenz)

As GP magazine revealed in May, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said that all school-age children should be immunised against flu. The committee is expected to make its formal recommendations to ministers later this month.

As part of its advice, the JCVI said that healthy children should be given a single dose of the Fluenz nasal spray vaccine in a school-based programme.

The Fluenz nasal spray has now been launched in the UK and can be ordered by GPs for the 2012-13 flu season. The needle-free vaccine is licensed for the prophylaxis of influenza in individuals from two years of age to less than 18 years old.

RCGP immunisation lead Dr George Kassianos said the addition of an intranasal flu vaccine provided ‘an important option for the vaccination of children’.

‘If we can reduce flu infection rates among children, we can reduce the morbidity and death rate in the community generally, especially in the elderly,’ he said. ‘This different route of administration will be of great interest for healthcare professionals planning the flu vaccination campaign.’

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