Flu vaccinations are available each year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk from flu and its complications. Flu can be extremely unpleasant and can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia. This year more than ever the flu vaccine is essential for vulnerable persons given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But where can you get a flu jab?
What is the flu jab?
Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk from flu and its complications.
Flu can have more severe consequences for certain people including:
- Anyone aged 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- Children and adults with an underlying health condition, such as respiratory disease
- Children and adults with weakened immune systems.
Any person in one of these higher-risk groups can develop more serious complications of flu, so it is recommended that they have a flu vaccine each year to help protect them.
Who should get the flu vaccine this year?
The NHS has extended the flu vaccine list this year to include the following:
- Adults 65 and over
- People with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
- Pregnant women
- People living with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
- Children aged two and three on August 31, 2020
- Children in primary school
- Children in year seven (secondary school)
- Frontline health or social care workers.
Later in 2020, the flu vaccine will be given to people aged 50 to 64, but more information about who is eligible and when this is available is expected later this autumn.
But the NHS advises anyone in this age group who is in a high-risk group to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible.
Where can I get a flu vaccine?
You can have your NHS flu vaccine at:
- Your GP surgery
- A local pharmacy offering the service
- Your midwifery service if they offer it for pregnant women.
Some community pharmacies now offer flu vaccination to adults (but not children) at risk from flu, including pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, people with long-term health conditions and carers.
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Does everyone need a flu vaccine?
No, only people who are at particular risk from the flu should get a flu vaccination.
You should be sure to avoid the flu vaccine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a flu vaccine or any of its ingredients.
The NHS also advises precautions if you have an allergy to eggs.
Can you get a flu vaccine if you are not in a high-risk group?
Adults who are not eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine can pay for the flu jab privately.
The flu jab is available at most pharmacies or in supermarkets.
The flu jab is provided on a private patient basis and typically costs up to £20.
How effective is the flu jab?
The flu jab is deemed to be the best protection against the flu.
Studies have shown that the flu vaccine will help prevent you from getting the flu, but it is not a 100 percent guarantee that you will be flu-free.
But it is likely any flu symptoms will be milder and shorter-lived than it would have otherwise been without the flu jab.
There is also some evidence that the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of having a stroke.
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