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Who shouldn't have the flu vaccine?

Who shouldn't have a flu vaccine?

There are very few people who cannot have a flu vaccine.

People who have previously had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine (or any part of it) should not have that vaccine again.

If you are unwell with a high temperature, it is wise to delay the vaccination until you feel better.

You will be assessed before you have the vaccine. The person giving you the vaccine will explain if there is a reason why you can’t have the flu vaccine.

Egg allergy and the flu vaccine

Tell the nurse, doctor or pharmacist if you or the child due to have the flu vaccine has a serious egg allergy. You can still have a flu vaccine but special arrangements are sometimes needed.

Most children who are allergic to egg can receive the nasal spray vaccine with no problem. The small number of children who have previously needed intensive care treatment for anaphylaxis (a rare, life threatening allergic reaction) to egg should be referred to a specialist. Egg free flu vaccine injections are available.

Your GP surgery or community pharmacist should be able to offer you a suitable flu vaccine with a very low egg content, or maybe a vaccine that is egg free.

Depending on the severity of your egg allergy, you may be referred to a specialist to have the vaccination in hospital.

Are there children who shouldn't have the flu vaccine?

Neither the nasal spray, or the injectable flu vaccine are suitable for babies under the age of six months.

There are a few children who should not have the nasal spray flu vaccine.

It’s not suitable for children who have:

  • a severely weakened immune system
  • active wheezing at the time of vaccination or in the previous 72 hours
  • increased the use of their asthma inhalers in the previous 3 days
  • had a severe life threatening allergic reaction to a flu vaccine (or any ingredient in the vaccine)

Or children:

  • under the age of two years
  • on long term aspirin (salicylate) treatment
  • taking, or who have recently taken, high dose steroid tablets (currently or in the last 2 weeks

Children unable to have the nasal spray vaccine may be able to have the flu injection instead.

Children with asthma who take regular oral steroids or have needed intensive-care treatment for their asthma should be referred to a specialist for advice to receive the nasal spray vaccine. They may need to receive an injectable flu vaccine instead.  

Please see information above regarding children with egg allergy.

There are traces of highly purified porcine gelatine in the flu nasal spray vaccine. If the parent of an eligible child declines the nasal spray vaccine due to its gelatine content, they can have a flu vaccine injection at their child’s GP surgery instead.

Fever and the flu vaccine

If you are ill with a fever, it's best to delay your flu vaccination until you have recovered.

A cough, cold or other minor illness is not a reason to delay a flu vaccination. 

Antibiotics and the flu vaccine

It is fine to have the flu vaccine while you are taking antibiotics.

Last Updated: 03/10/2023 11:03:38
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website