Parents should make sure their children are vaccinated against the flu this autumn, the health minister has urged.
Edwin Poots said children aged two and three will be offered the painless nasal spray vaccine by their GPs, while P6 pupils would receive the same spray from the school health service.
Children in at-risk groups, such as those with asthma, heart conditions or cerebral palsy, are already eligible to receive the flu vaccine from their own GP.
Mr Poots said: “Next year it is intended to offer the flu vaccine to all pre-school and primary school children and from the autumn of 2015 to all children aged two to 16 inclusive.
“I would urge all parents and guardians of eligible children to take up this offer of free flu vaccination whenever the programme begins this autumn.”
Most people will be able to receive the nasal spray vaccine which is being used because it provides greater protection than an injection, the Public Health Agency said.
Dr Richard Smithson said: “This vaccine has been used in America now for several years and millions of doses have been given. We can therefore be very confident in knowing that it is a safe and effective vaccine.”