Who should get the Flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is routinely given on the NHS to:
- Adults aged 65 or over
- People with underlying medical conditions
- Pregnant women
- Children aged 2 and 3 on 31st August 2019
- Children in primary school
- Frontline Health or Social care workers
This is because anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia.
Similarly, if you care for an older or disabled person whose welfare would be at risk if you were ill, you may be able to get a free NHS flu vaccine.
Where can i get the flu vaccine?
You can get your NHS flu vaccine at:
- Your GP surgery
- Your local pharmacy (if they are offering the service)
- Your midwifery service (if they are offering the service)
When should i get the flu vaccine?
The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to the end of November. You may still have it later in the winter, but you are more at risk until you do have it. Speak to your GP or pharmacist.
Who should avoid the flu vaccine?
You should always seek advice from your GP, nurse or pharmacist. However, the NHS state that anyone who has previously had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine should avoid it. Some flu vaccines are made with egg, and so anyone with a severe egg allergy should also avoid the flu vaccine, unless an egg-free flu vaccine is available. Speak to your health professional for further advice and information.
If you are ill with a fever, it is best to delay your flu vaccination until you have recovered. However, there is no need to delay your flu vaccinee if you have a minor illnes with no fever, such as a cold.
"The flu isn't serious so i don't need the vaccine"
Fact: As many as 65000 people a year can die of the flu. Flu symptoms are much more severe than cold symptoms, and some people can develop complications including sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, and heart or brain inflammations
"The flu vaccine will give me the flu"
Fact: The flu vaccine contains an INACTIVATED virus that cannot give you the flu. Feeling achy or slightly feverish is a normal reaction of the immune system to the vaccine, and this will generally only last a day or two. Speak to your pharmacist for help to relieve these symptoms.
"The flu vaccine can cause severe side effects"
Fact: The flu vaccine is proven to be safe. Severe side effects are extremely rare, with only one in a million people experiencing muscle weakness and paralysis.
"I have had the vaccine and still gotten the flu, so it doesn't even work"
Fact: Like anything the flu vaccine is not a 100% guarentee that you'll be flu-free. This is because several flu viruses are circulating all the time, which is why some people still get the flu despite being vaccinated since the vaccine is only specific to one strain of the virus. However, being vaccinated improves the chance of being protected from the flu.
"I am pregnant so i shouldn't get the flu jab"
Fact: Pregnant women should especially get the flu vaccine since their immune systems are weaker than usual. The inactivated flu vaccine is safe at any stage of pregnancy.