Flu can be serious - even fatal - so ensure you get your flu jab. Find out where you can get your flu vaccine here.
Flu vaccination, sometimes known as the flu jab, is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and the complications it brings. For more information please read the content below or click on the leaflet available to download on the right hand side of this page.
Please take the time to view the following video which shows Alan Taylor, over 65, having the flu jab and taking you through the flu jab process.
Here you can find more information on Screening & Immunisations
Anyone can get the flu vaccine, more vulnerable people can get the flu vaccine for free. Please view the video below to show how important it is to get vaccinated:
People who get the flu vaccine for free include:
- anyone over 65
- anyone with certain long-term medical conditions
- anyone who lives in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility, i.e. nursing home
- all pregnant women
- carers of elderly or disabled persons
- health and social care staff
- children aged 2 and 3, from their GP
- school children from Reception to year 6, via a Fluenz Nasal Spray.
If you live with someone who has a lowered immune system, you may also be eligible for a free vaccination. This is because flu symptoms take around two days to develop and, just like carers, you may have the virus and pass it on to those who are more vulnerable than you without even realising you have done so. See your GP for more information.
Each year, the viruses that are most likely to cause flu are identified in advance and vaccines are made to match them as closely as possible.
Whilst the vaccine cannot provide a 100% guarantee that you will be flu-free, studies have shown that it helps prevent you getting the flu.
In the 2019/20 flu season, a 'booster' vaccine is being made available for all those aged 65 and over which should provide better protection than previous vaccines. We are also recommending that the quadrivalent vaccine similar to the vaccine used in 2018/19, which protects against 4 strains of flu rather than 3 and is made available to all adults in at-risk groups aged between 16 to 64 years. The quadrivalent is also available for children between 6 months and 2 years and for older children where the fluenz vaccine may be deemed not suitable.
The side effects are worse than having the flu
Most people suffer nothing worse than a slightly sore arm. Some people may experience a mild fever for up to 48 hours after having the injection version of the vaccine as their immune system responds to the vaccine, but this is not the flu.
It causes me to have the flu
The flu vaccine given to adults contains inactivated flu viruses, so it can't give you flu. Your arm may feel a bit sore where you were injected, and some people get a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards. Other reactions are very rare.
The vaccine doesn't work
It is true that the flu vaccine will not protect you 100% from getting flu, but it is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus. The majority of people will be fully protected and some will get milder and short-lived symptoms. The vaccine provides a defence for those more susceptible to flu, and helps to prevent further complications such as pneumonia.
You only need to have the flu vaccine once
The flu virus changes every year, which means that slightly different virus strains circulate from previous years. You will have lower immunity to new strains of the flu. However, the flu vaccine is constantly changing to protect against these new strains, so having the vaccine once a year can provide you with better protection.
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