15:56 25 July 2012
In a drastic update to the UK's immunisation policy, flu nasal spray vaccinations will be offered to all two to 17-year-olds from 2014 onwards.
The proposal has just been approved by medical regulators, meaning that up to nine million children will now be eligible.
Experts have claimed that the move could save up to 2,000 lives a year. The predicted cost is £100m per year.
The youngest children will be given the spray by their GP while school children will be given it during a break in lessons.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said: "Severe winter flu and its complications can make people really ill and can kill, particularly those who are weak and frail, which is why we already offer vaccinations to the most at risk groups.
"We accept the advice of our expert committee that rolling out a wider programme could further protect children, with even a modest take-up helping to protect our most vulnerable.
"There are significant challenges to delivering a programme that requires up to 9 million children to be vaccinated during a six-week period and we will look at the recommendations in detail to decide how best to develop and deliver the programme."
In previous years, only children with underlying health concerns were offered the jab.
Scientists at the time were concerned that if healthy children were vaccinated they could develop long-lasting immunity from the disease creating huge problems further down the line - a concern which appears to have been dismissed with this action whose experts countered with the argument that children could spread the disease to more vulnerable people such as the elderly who are at greater risk.
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