Published Thursday, 06 September 2012
The vaccine is currently available to 'at risk' children. (© Getty)
A nasal spray vaccine will be made available for children aged two to 17 years of age.
At present, children in at risk groups, such as those with asthma or a heart condition, are already eligible to receive the injection from their GP.
Health Minister Edwin Poots explained: "There will be significant challenges to delivering an extended programme that will require up to 400,000 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."
Healthy children are one of the groups least likely to develop complications from the flu, but their close contact with each other means they are more likely to transmit the virus to other more vulnerable groups - including infants and the elderly.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: "Seasonal flu can be a very serious illness, particularly for those in the at risk groups which is why we already offer vaccinations to these people.
"We accept the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that rolling out a wider programme could protect children and help to further protect our most vulnerable members of society.
"In the meantime, for the forthcoming flu season, our priority remains to ensure a high uptake rate is achieved in the at risk groups including pregnant women."