The flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray will be offered to all children in primary school next winter in a bid to boost uptake, health chiefs have announced.
Currently the vaccine is not available in all schools and for many older children it is only on offer in injection form.
It is hoped that offering the vaccine through nasal spray will encourage more children to take it up.
Last year approximately three million children were vaccinated, according to Public Health England (PHE), who made the announcement.
Targeting children is particularly important because they are more likely to spread the disease to vulnerable people, such as the elderly, due to poorer hand and respiratory hygiene.
Seema Kennedy, Public Health Minister, said: “It’s really promising to see that this year around three million children were vaccinated, and we’re expanding and improving the vaccine programme so that from next year it will be available to all children in primary school.”
The announcement came as official data showed that last year’s flu jab was 44.3 per cent effective over all.
Some 48 per cent of children and adults in an at-risk group (such as those with asthma or diabetes) had the jab, lower than the 49.7 per cent recorded the year before.