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Flu vaccination

(53 Posts)

Dd2 has been offered the new flu vaccine nasal spray. I'm at this moment in time unsure as to whether to accept or decline. Mainly because its so new and side effects can include wheezing and high temperatures. Dd1 is asthmatic so obviously the thought that dd2 could have this jab and become wheezy and hospitalised does scare me.

I regret my decision to allow dd1 to have the swine flue jab as she was very ill within days of receiving it and I do not want to make the same mistake again.

So, any positive stories and warnings of side effects you believe were caused by giving your children the vaccination would be gratefully received.

I'm not after debates on vaccinations both mine are fully vaccinated but I do hope you can understand my hesitation.



Pinklemon Fri 13-Sep-13 18:57:11

My dd has been offered this nasal spray vaccine too and I cannot decide whether to let her have it or not.

Sirzy Fri 13-Sep-13 19:12:10

DS has always had his flu jabs because of his asthma. He is having this years next week which I think is the nasal one. I would rather him be vaccinated than risk him getting flu

BeaWheesht Fri 13-Sep-13 19:51:36

I'd rather she had the side effects than the flu, we all had swine flu in dec 2010 and ds was seriously ill with pneumonia. Not something I'd go through again if I could help it.

BeaWheesht Fri 13-Sep-13 19:52:32

Incidentally both ds and I had mild very mild asthma before flu, neither of us have ever fully recovered in that respect sad

Thank you all for replying. It would be an easier decision if it was the jab if that makes sense. That's been going for years. It's more te fact that this is so new that there are no long term effects to reports and limited numbers of test groups.

Pinklemon Fri 13-Sep-13 20:26:24

The school letter says this flu vaccine is part of a pilot scheme, testing delivery methods before the national programme commences in 2014. So this nasal flu vaccine is new in UK?

That what worries me. The lack of data. sad yes it looks like its just being rolled out

BeaWheesht Fri 13-Sep-13 20:45:05

Afaik its been used in US for years. Obviously not this particular vaccine as that changes every year.

I will have to do some more googling. I'm just not ready for my dd to be part of a trial. I was pushed into the swine flu jab and regretted it. Very wary this time

Ginformation Fri 13-Sep-13 21:47:22

The swine flu jab (and all the other injected flu jabs) are not live vaccines so cannot make you ill. Unless it was an allergic type reaction, it is more likely to have been a coincidental illness.

The nasal flu vaccine (new to the UK) is more effective in children than the injected version (ie more likely to give immunity). If your dc has asthma then I would very strongly recommend they have the flu vaccine as they would be vulnerable to complications if they caught flu.

There is a roll out campaign starting this year with all 2 and 3 year olds (as of 1st sept 2013). Children of all ages in risk groups will continue to be offered flu vaccine. At our surgery we have decided to give all children the nasal vaccine as it is more effective.

Ginformation Fri 13-Sep-13 21:48:41

And it is NOT a trial now the trials and pilots are complete, this is the new national immunisation programme from Public Health.

BeaWheesht Fri 13-Sep-13 21:52:18

Who pushed you into the swine flu jab?

That's very informative thank you smile

The letter gave no details literally just said about being allergic to a few ingredients. No stats no side effects nothing.

Dd2 is not asthmatic. When I saw wheezing listed on a web sight I panicked because I do not want her to develope asthma. I feel so far we have been Amazingly lucky with her being clear after illness as a baby left her very likely to develope it.

I'm so worried about taking that chance.

Ginformation Fri 13-Sep-13 22:09:13

Ah, I see re the asthma issue. Unfortunately, if genetically predisposed to it, then there may not be much you can do to avoid developing asthma. Children are MUCH more likely to develop wheeze with viral upper respiratory tract infections (common cold and flu) than as a side effect of the vaccine.

I know it's stupid but the information I saw gave statistics of hospitalisations due to respiritatory isdues and gastrointestinal (i think) within 6 months of having vaccine. I'm wondering whether to ask for jab instead as I have family who have that and have all been fine.

I know it's stupid and likely coincidental and if she's going to get it she will get it but if it happens so close to the vaccine ill never know if it was that or not but I'd never forgive myself of i thought it was down to a choice I made.

She had bronchiolitis twice as a tiny baby how she has never had a wheeze since I don't know just feel like I've got a miracle and don't want to push my luck. Sorry I'm just babbling and making no sense I just don't know anyone who's had it who can tell me I'm worrying over nothing.

But your replies do help. Thank you. I won't feel like she's part of an experiment now if I go ahead. smile

bea it was family, my gut said no because it was new at the time and I was worried about a lack of information. But they said I should take it and that they wouldn't allow it if it was dangerous so I did.

A week later she was really poorly.

Although gin has said it wasn't a live virus so likely coincidental which I did think was a possibility I just did t know. But it was just perhaps bad luck.

Ginformation Fri 13-Sep-13 23:09:29

Sorry to be a vaccine pedant grin but the swine flu jab was nothing new. The strains of flu included in the flu jab are different every year,.based on which flavours of flu are prevalent at the time. There was a separate swine flu vaccine That Winter as it was too late to include the swine strain of flu in the seasonal vaccine as it was already in manufacture. Since then swine flu has been included in the standard seasonal flu jab as it has still been knocking around. I'm not sure if it is in this years actually, perhaps someone else knows.

Unfortunately the press are often responsible for selective reporting/ scaremongering which adds to the understandable anxiety of parents and patients.

This year there are lots of changes to the vaccine schedule: introduction of rotavirus vaccine to babies, changes to meningitis c for older children, introduction of shingles vaccine to the elderly... I personally would like to see hepatitis B vaccine be standard in the UK (as it is in a most of western Europe), not just for at risk children, for some jobs and travellers. But the cost is at present prohibitive.

Thank you gin <brain overload now> smile

It was just all so rushed, I got letter, clinics were straight away and I didn't have time or wasn't able to look at the right information. I've never had flu myself yet and was unfamiliar with the whole flu jab thing.

It's hard to know what info to trust.

Ginformation Fri 13-Sep-13 23:28:58

Sorry for melting your brain wink You do still have time to think. The flu season continues all autumn and winter so if you take more time to decide then there are likely to be more clinics coming up.

Unless there is a massive rush and the vaccine supply runs out, but that is unlikely.

That's ok smile

She's not at nursery yet or anything so genuinely don't have much of an idea how strong her immune system is when faced with lots of other children regularly or how badly the usual child hood illnesses will affect her.

So far I appear to have been blessed with an amazing fighter of a dd who has maintained good health after a serious blip as a baby.

With dd1 it was all about trying to help her stay healthy because of her asthma.

Dd 2 I'm desperate to try not to bring on asthma if that makes any sense at all.

I'm assuming your a dr/nurse/HCP the way you are talking. You have provided alot more info than my drs sent. Thank you smile

Ginformation Fri 13-Sep-13 23:56:58

It does make sense smile but as in Bea's experience, the illness is more likely to trigger asthma than the vaccine.

Check out the NHS choices website for more info (which you can trust), search for children flu vaccine.

I am a GP, sorry should have said before. Hope you and your family have a healthy winter. smile

BeaWheesht Fri 13-Sep-13 23:59:50

I understand exactly all your concerns because I had them ll myself and therefore refused the swine flu vaccine when pregnant am refused it for toddler ds at the time. I have never been more scared though than when he had swine flu, honestly it wasn't a mild illness, it was hell. He ended up with pneumonia as I said and his asthma which had never been so bad as to be formally diagnosed has never gone back to what it was. Dh and I had the flu too and it knocked us both out, I wheeze most weeks now and have had loads of chest infections etc, before I had swine flu that never happened. Thankfully, somehow newborn dd avoided it but she is now eligible for the nasal vaccine as she is almost 3 and I will have her first in line for it. It has to be 100% your decision of course but I just wanted you to know I was in a similar position a few years ago and feel I made the wrong choice, tbh I've never really got over seeing ds so ill and I feel incredibly guilty.

Thank you smile

Thank you for your post bea sounds awful sad

Don't feel guilty , we make what decision we feel is best with the information we have. We can't ever know what will happen.

There are decisions I regret as I believe they lead to a worse situation but no one can see the future. You did what you felt was best x

BeaWheesht Sat 14-Sep-13 00:05:53

Thanks. I did but I think I didn't really understand how serious flu could be iyswim?

incywincyspideragain Sun 15-Sep-13 21:22:56

In case it helps, here is some more information on the spray being used in the UK
Its a good place to start when looking at a new vaccine - it lists known risks and contraindications

Thank you smile

Pinklemon Mon 16-Sep-13 09:45:48

Can an unvaccinated child catch flu from a vaccinated child?

BeaWheesht Mon 16-Sep-13 10:07:08

Not afaik Pinklemon.

As I understand it the injected vaccine isn't a live vaccine so can't infect others and according to what I've read nor can the nasal spray.

Pinklemon Mon 16-Sep-13 10:12:36

I'm undecided. I've spoken to my friend who lives in US, they only get the needle vaccines and not the nasal spray vaccines, although the nasal ones have been used in US for years.

Pinklemon Mon 16-Sep-13 10:56:20

I'm undecided. I've spoken to my friend who lives in US, they only get the needle vaccines and not the nasal spray vaccines, although the nasal ones have been used in US for years.

incywincyspideragain Wed 18-Sep-13 00:31:04

*pinklemon the spray is a live attenuated (weaker) virus - the insert states that those receiving the spray should stay away from immuno compromised people for 2 weeks after they receive the spray, that would suggest it can be passed on

That part worries me. Dd1 is asthmatic and hasn't been offered a vaccination. Being sisters I can't keep them apart and the last thing she needs is the risk of catching it from dd2 through the vaccination.

BeaWheesht Wed 18-Sep-13 07:49:50

Why hasn't she been offered it? If she's asthmatic she's entitled to it.

Cos it's for kids aged 2-3 dd1 is 7

Ginformation Wed 18-Sep-13 14:38:04

Your 7yo will be offered flu jab as she is in a risk group (as previous years). it will probably be the injection this year, but in the future all children above 2 will be offered the nasal vaccine. In some areas older children are getting the nasal version as a pilot which will be rolled out nationally.

BeaWheesht Wed 18-Sep-13 19:53:23

Ds is nearly 7 he gets the flu jag because of his asthma - have you never been offered it? That's a big oversight - call and book one ASAP ( if you want one )

We haven't been offered one in 4 years. Maybe they don't send letters out any more and that's why.

Her asthma has been pretty quiet past year or so which is but maybe that's why too.

incywincyspideragain Wed 18-Sep-13 20:04:21

Reading the package insert your dd1 should not be offered the nasal spray at any point as its contraindicative for children with asthma (really not meaning to be rude, and i mean that sincerely, but little concerned ginformation that as a GP you have said to the op that her dd1 will have the spray in subsequent yrs that's not what the fluenz information says)
Sorry that doesn't help your concern about transmission from dd2 to dd1 - I would suggest in reality no one really knows, the advice from manufacturer will be precautionary but you should take it on board when making your decision, if you did want then both vaccinated could you ask for both to have a jab? No sure if that's an option

That's actually what I was thinking. Giving them both the jabs if drs agree. Plus I think it would be easier to inject quickly rather than shove up a nostril.

Ginformation Wed 18-Sep-13 22:05:00

incywincy the nasal vaccine is only contraindicated for those with severe asthma with clearly defined criteria defining this. No offence taken on my part, but perhaps you should check your facts love wink

Sirzy Wed 18-Sep-13 22:13:54

Gin - do you have a link to the criteria? DS is 3 and been offered the nasal spray as part of that campaign BUT he also has severe asthma so I want to make sure he gets the right one!

BadRoly Wed 18-Sep-13 22:20:40

Wheresmycaffeine - dc4 gets a flu jab each year because he has a heart condition. We only had a letter from our old GP surgery but never from this one.

However he has had a vaccination each year as I phone the surgery and ask if he should have one and they've always said yes!

I don't know if I'm just organised enough to get in before they send letters our or if they just don't bother with letters anymore?

Ginformation Wed 18-Sep-13 22:21:22

Not on me now sirzy (I have a personal policy of not logging onto my work email when I have a week off grin ) but if you ask for a telephone consultation with your practice nurse, they should be able to tell you which is the best vaccine for you. All practice nurses who will be delivering the vaccine have been offered training as it is new (but used for the last 10 years in USA). Unless there is a practice nurse lurking here?

Sirzy Wed 18-Sep-13 22:23:53

They had him booked for the spray but cancelled and said to book again at the end of the month. I am wondering if they realised they had booked him for the wrong one! I will check when we rebook. His is pretty severe (not controlled on high dose seretide plus other meds) so I am guessing sticking the the injection will be best for him.

incywincyspideragain Wed 18-Sep-13 22:32:28

not offended either as when I'm wrong I do need to check my facts smile nothing worse than miss information about vaccines and medication imo!
I missed the OP's description of her dd's asthma but picked up on the fact she had it - of course you are right the insert states 'severe' I would be interested to understand the criteria and why that criteria isn't on the insert also, if the manufacturer has stated severe the interpretation of that should be a universal one from them based on their trials and studies... one to ask our practise nurse smile

Ginformation Wed 18-Sep-13 22:42:19

We don't send out letters until after the initial stampede. Most know when flu season is. The newer risk groups all get invites as they may not realise they are eligible. We do put up posters, message on repeat prescription slips and website etc. there will also be a DoH campaign this year too.

If someone has a history of asthma but not needed inhalers for the last year, they may no longer be eligible/need for flu jab.

Ginformation Wed 18-Sep-13 22:46:05

Think you might be right sirzy. Hang on, will see what I can find re criteria...

Ginformation Wed 18-Sep-13 23:25:11

Anyone who wants to check this out for themselves, then look up the 'green book' which available through This is the DoH handbook for all immunisations. It is a truly riveting read wink

The nasal vaccine is live attenuated so there is potential to transmit flu to immunocompromised (eg on chemotherapy, some types of cancer, some inherited diseases affecting the immune system, HIV not stable on medication etc) individuals for 1-2 weeks after vaccine. People with normal immune systems are not at risk.

"Children aged six months to under nine years who are in clinical risk groups and have not received influenza vaccine previously or are being offered inactivated influenza vaccine for the first time should be offered a second dose of vaccine. All other children should receive a single dose of influenza vaccine, including those receiving live attenuated influenza vaccine, irrespective of whether they have received influenza vaccine previously."
(so if in a risk group a child who has never had the flu jab in previous years would need 2 flu injections, 4 weeks apart, or 1 nasal vaccine)

"The live attenuated influenza vaccine (Fluenz®) is not recommended for
children with active wheezing at the time of vaccination or severe asthma (BTS SIGN step 4 or above)* because of limited safety data in these groups."

*BTS/SIGN guidelines for asthma are googleable, but the BTS (British Thoracic Society) website seems to be down at the mo. Step 4 refers to 'persistent poor control' often these are the asthmatics who are under consultant care as the regular arsenal of inhalers/medication are not keeping things under control.

Still awake after reading that?!

Sirzy Thu 19-Sep-13 05:35:38

Thank you gin

Yes thank you Gin

I think gone jab will be best for us. Mainly due to the transmission risk. Even if dd1 isn't at too much risk I'm afraid due to recent poor health my DM might be.

Thank you all for helping with the decision.


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