Nasal spray influenza vaccination

Children over two years of age can now be vaccinated against influenza with a nasal spray. Nasal spray is a more comfortable, painless and less scary method of vaccinating children.

How is nasal spray influenza vaccine administered?

The vaccine given as a nasal spray is administered at the nurse’s appointment. The child can sit on the parent’s lap when the vaccine is administered. The nurse squirts a small amount of vaccine up each nostril. It is not painful for the child and does not require simultaneous inhaling, which means that even a very small child can be vaccinated with the spray. The protective effect of the vaccine is reached within two weeks after the administration. The vaccine should be taken before the beginning of the actual influenza season, preferably in November-December.

Can all children be vaccinated with the nasal spray?

The influenza vaccine given as nasal spray is intended for children aged 2–17. The influenza vaccine given as nasal spray cannot be administered for children under two years of age, but they are offered an injected vaccine instead.

The child must be healthy when the vaccine is administered, but a slightly stuffy nose is not an obstacle for the vaccination. For example, the immune deficiency of the child or person close to them, allergy to eggs, allergy to other vaccine ingredients, aspirin allergy, previous reaction to a vaccine or poorly controlled asthma or wheezing can be obstacles for the vaccination. The nurse interviews the family before administering the vaccine and ensures that the vaccine is suitable for the child.

Are there adverse effects associated with the influenza vaccine given as a nasal spray?

The influenza vaccine given as a nasal spray has been in use around the world for more than 10 years, and it is considered as safe. After the vaccine has been administered, the nose may feel stuffy and runny. Sometimes the vaccinated person may suffer from muscle or joint pain as well as mild headache, irritation, nausea or fever. After the nasal spray, it is not allowed to use acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) to treat fever of pain, but other regular medicine relieving fever and pain may be used normally.

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