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I can't find private flu vaccine for our 1yo

(30 Posts)
Mark070 Wed 09-Dec-15 11:49:08

Hello all,

Flu is very dangerous for under 2s (see below), and yet our NHS does not vaccinate them! Due to budget rationing! So I've been looking for private sources, for our 13-month-old son, but I can't find it! And we are late already, into the flu season. I've even been avoiding toddlers play groups, which is not good for him, or for us.

Any advice please?

Many thanks,


From WebMD:

"Although the flu is rarely serious in healthy adults, it can be much more dangerous in children. Little ones are two to three times more likely to get it.
Most people older than 6 months should get a yearly flu vaccine. Kids younger than 2 are more likely to have problems because of the flu than older kids and adults."

VagueIdeas Wed 09-Dec-15 11:52:30

I think you are being risk averse to the extreme here. That's an American link for a start, who have a different vaccination schedule. If the NHS genuinely believed there was a benefit to vaccinating babies against flu, they would roll it out (and they have rolled out a lot of new vaccinations for babies and toddlers over the last three years).

VagueIdeas Wed 09-Dec-15 11:55:29

Extensive information from the NHS here:

Mark070 Wed 09-Dec-15 12:17:06

Hi VagueIdeas,

Flu is more dangerous for under 2s than for older children and adults. This is a medical fact.

The NHS does not consider under-2s an (epidemiologically) budget priority probably because these children have less frequent contact with other children, as most are not yet going to nurseries or schools.

But if we take a toddler to play groups, as we would like to do, which include toddlers that live with older siblings that do go to nurseries and/or schools, then these toddlers will be exposed to the flu virus.

And why do you dismiss an American site?

Mark070 Wed 09-Dec-15 12:22:09

Sorry, I forgot to reply to your message with the NHS link.

I am familiar with that page. Note that the NHS avoids saying if the flu vaccine is medically recommended or not for unde-2s...

It is a budget rationing decision.

Fannycraddock79 Wed 09-Dec-15 18:28:13

Certain boots stores do the vaccination. The fact you haven't been offered it is odd as both my 3.5 year old and 4 month old have had it at the drs on the nhs

Mark070 Thu 10-Dec-15 09:08:50

Hi Fannycraddock79,

Thanks for replying.

From that NHS page linked above, the NHS is only offering the flu vaccine to children:

"(...) aged two, three and four on August 31 2015. That is, children with a date of birth on or after September 1 2010 and on or before August 31 2013. (and for) children in school years one and two will be offered flu vaccination. (And to) " babies (aged six months to two years) with a long-term medical condition."

Our son is 13 month old, so not included. And our local pharmacies only offer them to 16 years old or older. I've Googled a LOT about it, and I really couldn't find anything. But perhaps my Googling wasn't very good, hence this post on Mumsnet.

I've had this problem too; NHS won't vaccinate anyone outside their designated 'boxes', as you say, and the private providers won't do kids.

We ended up just crossing our fingers TBH.

Smellyoulateralligater Thu 10-Dec-15 10:00:26

Try a private hospital with a paediatric outpatient clinic. They will do vaccinations for a hefty fee.

Mark070 Thu 10-Dec-15 15:11:18

Hi BoulevardOfBrokenSleep,
Yes, and we are already well into the flu season... I'm worried. And annoyed. Incredible that in this day and age we can't find a flu jab for a child! Just unbelievable.

Hi Smellyoulateralligater
I've phoned the only one in our town, and they don't do it. Actually i think they don't even have paediatrics! It looks like their clientele is mainly elderly rich people, "Saga" like...

The biggest city around here is Portsmouth, and I did try Googling about it, but I couldn't find anything there either.

I'm starting to think that we would have to go to London for it, but we would have to go by public transport, train and tube, where ironically I bet he would be "inoculated" with the flu virus well before getting the vaccine! confused. Besides, it would be well around 3hrs each way door-to-door, difficult with (and for) a 1yo.

Incredible that we can't find a flu vaccine in a city the size of Portsmouth...

Perhaps Brighton or Southampton?? I'll try Googling about that next.

VagueIdeas Thu 10-Dec-15 15:22:55

Can I gently ask whether you suffer from health anxiety, or general anxiety? Because it really isn't normal to be so worried about a baby catching flu (I don't believe they are considered a high risk group for catching flu?) that you are going to such lengths to find a vaccine.

It isn't normal to think that baby groups, or journeys on public transport, are too risky in terms of flu transmission. You can't isolate yourself like that. And what about all the winter viruses for which you can't get a vaccine?

I'm sure you'll think I'm being lax, but I have no issue with my baby not receiving the flu vaccine, because the vaccine would be easy to obtain if he needed it. It isn't, and so the balance of probability lies in his favour that he won't catch flu. That's how I see it.

Flossieflower01 Thu 10-Dec-15 15:25:31

It's rather too late this year for a flu vaccine anyway as it takes several weeks to be effective. You'd be better to focus on hand hygiene and avoiding contagious people then get him done by mid October next year.

Mark070 Thu 10-Dec-15 18:05:02


I don't suffer from health anxiety, I just happen to have a scientific background and I know that vaccines are very useful. And even then I never worry about catching a flu myself, I know that i am healthy enough to deal with it easily, but here I am talking about a 1 year-old baby, flu is much more dangerous for him, and it is my responsibility to do my best for him, that's all. In other words, it is not just a health concern but an ethical one too.

And it annoys me that i'm having to go to "such lengths" (as you put so well) to find a simple flu vaccine. Frankly, it is quite primitive, shameful really.

If your baby is older than 6 months, you should be trying to provide a vaccine for him or her.

Your blind trust in the NHS, and ignorance about its need for rationing, is a bit endearing, but very misguided.

Mark070 Thu 10-Dec-15 18:11:47

Hi Flossieflower01,

If I remember correctly it takes 2 weeks for the vaccine to be reasonably effective, though i am not 100% sure about it, you may be right.

I fully agree that it is getting late. If I knew it would be so difficult to find a simple flu vaccine I would have started this search much earlier, but I had no idea, it is our 1st child, and we had no previous experience at all. Quite surprised and very disappointed with the health system around here.

Snoopadoop Thu 10-Dec-15 18:18:13

I just happen to have a scientific background

Me too OP and I actively refused it for my DS when offered and did my own extensive literature research (even talked to my medical colleagues - I work for the NHS).

Children under 2 are not at high risk of contracting influenza and even if they do at this age (assuming there are no other medical conditions) they are often asymptomatic. Having said that yes there is always the chance they will catch it an be poorly. However I an 38 and have contracted flu once in my life - aged 18. Since moving to my current role 3 years ago I now receive the vaccine myself, for the protection of patients I come in contact with (who are vulnerable) so I think once in 35 years isn't bad going.

Flu vaccines are often more about health economics and it isn't economically sensible to vaccinate under 2s (except those who are vulnerable).

If you want it you will have to find a private clinic who offer it. I'm afraid I don't know Portsmouth but Google isn't always helpful. Can your GP advise of somewhere local? Or your local health authority? Failing that yes, you'll easily get it in London.

Snoopadoop Thu 10-Dec-15 18:19:08

Sorry for the typos. smile

VagueIdeas Thu 10-Dec-15 18:24:20

Well I have a scientific background myself, funnily enough (particularly in the area of evidence based medicine) so I'd appreciate less patronising comments about my blind faith in the NHS, ta.

Funnily enough, I decided not to give my older child the nasal spray vaccine after reading this:

When a representative from Cochrane says the evidence is sketchy, that's quite something.

Snoopadoop Thu 10-Dec-15 18:29:19

By the way OP I have found somewhere in Havant (not too far no?) on my first Google attempt. How 'hard' have you googled?

Hurr1cane Thu 10-Dec-15 18:29:51

My DS would be VERY poorly if he caught the flu. But he isn't vaccinated as his paediatrician said the vaccinations also makes them ill, and that illness would be a very big risk to DS, he said that there was very little chance of him catching the flu.

I've also only had the flu once ever in my life.

My mum had the vaccine this year and caught a different strain of flu anyway.

VagueIdeas Thu 10-Dec-15 18:30:57

You may also want to take a look at the Cochrane Review on "Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children". It seems to support the NHS stance on not giving children under two the standard (as opposed to nasal spray) flu vaccine.;jsessionid=40672407B21A867544E3CE0778C49E4C.f03t02

" The review authors found that in children aged from two years, nasal spray vaccines made from weakened influenza viruses were better at preventing illness caused by the influenza virus than injected vaccines made from the killed virus. Neither type was particularly good at preventing 'flu-like illness' caused by other types of viruses. In children under the age of two, the efficacy of inactivated vaccine was similar to placebo. It was not possible to analyse the safety of vaccines from the studies due to the lack of standardisation in the information given, but very little information was found on the safety of inactivated vaccines, the most commonly used vaccine in young children.

Mark070 Thu 10-Dec-15 19:48:02

Dear VagueIdeas,

Re. Havant, are you sure? Could you post the link here please?

Many thanks

Mark070 Thu 10-Dec-15 19:50:32

Sorry, it was actually Snoopadoop who found a source at Havant.

Could you post the link here please?

Many thanks

Snoopadoop Thu 10-Dec-15 20:05:17

Here. It doesn't read brilliantly and mentions 'according to suitability' so they might not consider your child suitable, but you could maybe call them and discuss. Really though, in my opinion, wait until your child is 2 and take up the NHS vaccine offered if you feel strongly. I really wouldn't vaccinate an under 2 year old. The nasal vaccine is a live vaccine (unlike the adult injected vaccine), so your child may develop flu like symptoms just from having it and there are contraindications and potential side effect. It is a particularly ineffective method of delivery and in my opinion for an otherwise healthy child not necessary.

Mark070 Fri 11-Dec-15 07:59:19

Thank you very much for the link Snoopadoop, i'll phone them this morning.

Yes, I was aware that for under-2s the recommended vaccine is the jab, and not the live nasal spray. But thanks anyway for making sure that i - and other readers of this topic - knew about that important detail.

FishWithABicycle Fri 11-Dec-15 08:14:25 any good?

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