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Pharmacists in the community can now offer influenza nasal spray vaccine to children and adolescents on a private basis. The NHS started to vaccinate 2 and 3 year olds with this same vaccine in the last few weeks. The vaccine provides protection for the flu season 2013/14 and is suitable for children up to the age of 18 years.

Pharmacists administer the vaccine by spray into each nostril. No injection is necessary. The vaccine takes about 2 weeks to become effective and provides 60% to 100% protection. The nasal spray vaccine, called Fluenz, is a new type of vaccine for flu. Fluenz contains live virus in a weakened form and can produce a very mild flu-like illness. More traditional flu vaccines, given by injection, contain virus material which is not active and cannot cause an infection, even a mild one. The nasal spray vaccine provides better protection in children and adolescents, but is not recommended in adults, where it is a less effective vaccine.

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