The influenza vaccine (flu shot)  is the most effective way to reduce the chance of your child becoming sick with influenza. So, should children get the flu shot?

The flu shot is voluntary, but encouraged for everyone.

The vaccine can be given to any child over six months of age.

If your child has a chronic medical condition, it is strongly recommended that they have an annual influenza vaccination. All household members should also be vaccinated to reduce the chances of your child being exposed to influenza.

Because the influenza virus mutates (changes) slightly from year to year, your child will need a new and updated influenza vaccine at the beginning of each influenza season. Two doses are often required in the first year of vaccination for children aged under nine.


What are the side effects of the flu shot? 

Side effects of the vaccine include pain and redness at the site of injection. Less commonly, children may develop a fever or aches and pains, which last one to two days.

The vaccine cannot cause influenza as it contains inactivated (killed) influenza virus.

While the current influenza vaccines are made using small traces of egg proteins, extensive research shows influenza vaccines are safe for children with egg allergy or egg anaphylaxis. All children will be observed for 15 minutes following the vaccination.


Key points to remember with the flu shot

Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza.

Influenza is very infectious so good hygiene is important.

Influenza is caused by a virus so antibiotics cannot be used to treat it.

Contact your GP urgently if your child has influenza and becomes more unwell, or shows signs of dehydration or breathing difficulties.


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Flu Shot