Flu and COVID-19 advice

Updates, advice and guidance for parents and carers

This page contains information for parents and carers based on current guidance about COVID-19 and flu, and vaccinations.

Winter 2023/24 flu and COVID-19 update

Whilst there is still a risk of COVID-19 infection which should be treated seriously, the population generally now has much stronger protections against the virus. This means it can be managed like other respiratory infections. 

However, around winter, COVID-19 and flu infections tend to increase and often lead to 1000s of hospitalisations, especially in vulnerable cohorts. Therefore it is important to be aware of the latest vaccination guidance and know what to do if you recognise the symptoms of possible infection. 

What to do if your child has symptoms of flu or COVID-19

Being in school improves health, wellbeing and socialisation throughout the life course. Children and young people with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or slight cough, who are otherwise well, can continue to attend their education or care setting. 

Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature (over 38°C) should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can. They can go back to school, college or childcare, and resume normal activities when they no longer have a high temperature and they feel well enough to attend. 

If a child has a positive COVID-19 test result, they should be kept at home for three days as children and young people tend to be infectious for less time than adults.

Further information to help parents decide whether to send their children to school or not can be found in the NHS Is my child too ill for school guidance.

Winter vaccinations for children and young people

COVID-19 vaccine for your child 

Currently (autumn/winter 2023) children are advised to obtain a COVID-19 booster if they are in one of the following groups:

  • aged 6 months or above and are in a clinical risk group
  • aged 12 or above and live with someone with a weakened immune system

For more information visit Hackney's COVID-19 information page.

Flu vaccine for your child 

This autumn/winter the flu vaccine is being offered to most children including all aged 2 and 3 years old, school-aged children from reception to year 11, as well as those with relevant health conditions.

The Flu vaccine is given every year for children. The vaccine is given as a single spray squirted up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free,the nasal spray is quick, painless, and works even better than the injected flu vaccine. The vaccine is absorbed very quickly. It will still work even if your child develops a runny nose, sneezes or blows their nose shortly after the vaccination. 

Children should get the flu vaccine as soon as they can, to protect them and help stop the virus spreading to others. Children aged under 5 have one of the highest hospitalisation rates for flu. 

School aged children will be offered their vaccine at school and parents of 2 and 3 year olds can contact their GP.

For more information visit the NHS website 

Useful resources

This page was last modified on: 21 Apr 2024