Public Health England (PHE) has launched updated influenza vaccination information for healthcare practitioners for the 2018/2019 flu season.The updates include new guidance regarding paediatric influenza vaccination.
During 2013, a phased programme commenced to offer influenza vaccine to all children from two years of age. During the 2018/19 flu season, this programme will be extended.
Influenza vaccine will continue to be offered to children in at-risk groups but the upper age for the routine childhood programme will be extended so that influenza vaccine will also be offered to all children who are aged two to nine years of age (but not ten years or older) on 31 August 2018. These children will be offered live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) unless contraindicated.
As LAIV is not licenced for use in those aged six months to two years, eligible at-risk children are recommended to receive an age appropriate inactivated quadrivalent influenza vaccine (injected) instead.
All influenza vaccines for children aged six months to less than 18 years are purchased centrally by PHE, which it said should be ordered via ImmForm.
Further details of the influenza vaccination programme for children can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/annual-flu-programme#2018-to-2019-flu-season.