The seasonal flu vaccination

The seasonal flu vaccination

Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever this winter due to the likelihood that flu and Covid-19 will both be in circulation. The NHS flu vaccination programme has been expanded further this year, with more people than ever eligible for a free flu vaccine.

GPs and pharmacies still have appropriate infection control practices in place to make it safer for vulnerable people to come and get vaccinated.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

You should ensure you get your free NHS flu vaccine if you are in any of the following groups:

  • all children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021
  • those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • pregnant women
  • those aged 50 years and over
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers
  • close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • frontline health and social care staff employed by:
  • a registered residential care or nursing home
  • registered domiciliary care provider
  • a voluntary managed hospice provider
  • Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants.

All frontline health and social care workers are expected to have influenza vaccination to protect those they care for.

If you’re aged 50 or over and have a health condition that means you’re more at risk from flu, you should get your flu vaccine as soon as possible.

Due to high demand for the flu vaccine, there may be delays getting vaccination appointments. Your GP surgery or pharmacy should be able to tell you when more appointments are available.

Find out more about who should have the flu vaccine on the NHS website.

If you have received an invitation letter from your GP practice, you will be able to receive a vaccination from your GP practice or any participating pharmacy until 31st March 2021. Please ensure you book an appointment with either your GP or pharmacy as it is even more important this year that those eligible for the free NHS vaccine take up the offer.

To find your nearest participating pharmacy text ‘Pharmacy Flu’ and your post code to 80011. However, you may find that you need to try more than one pharmacy to get an appointment that suits you, due to an increased uptake of the flu vaccine this year. Appointments will be available throughout the winter.

Will the flu vaccine protect me against Covid-19?

The flu vaccine won’t protect you against Covid-19. But it will help protect you against flu, which is an unpleasant and potentially serious infection that can cause complications leading to hospital admission. Helping to protect against flu is particularly important with Covid-19 in circulation because people vulnerable to Covid-19 are also at risk of complications from flu.

Which type of flu vaccine should I have?

There are several types of flu vaccine. You’ll be offered the one that’s most effective for your age:

  • Children aged 2 to 17 in an eligible group are offered a live attenuated quadrivalent vaccine (LAIV), given as a nasal spray. An inactivated quadrivalent injected vaccine grown in cells (QIVc), will be available to order for children in at risk groups who should not receive LAIV, or as an alternative offer for children aged 2 and over whose parents object to LAIV on the ground of its porcine gelatine content.
  • Adults with learning disabilities are also eligible for the nasal spray if appropriate
  • Adults aged 18 to 64 who are either pregnant, or at increased risk from flu because of a long-term health condition, are offered an inactivated quadrivalent injected vaccine – the vaccine offered will have been grown either in eggs or cells (QIVe or QIVc or QIVr), which are considered to be equally suitable
  • Adults aged 65 and over will be offered either an inactivated adjuvanted quadrivalent influenza vaccine (aQIV), the cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIVc) or the recombinant quadrivalent influenza vaccine - all 3 vaccines are considered to be equally suitable.

If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years old and is in a high-risk group for flu, they’ll be offered an injected flu vaccine (QIVe) as the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2.

Talk to a GP, practice nurse or pharmacist for more information about these vaccines.

You can find further information on seasonal flu – including common symptoms and treatment options – by visiting the NHS Flu web pages or by downloading the flu leaflet or easy read guide.

Please see below for some further resources to help you stay well this winter.

The following video explores why it is important for all our communities to consider the flu jab. It was filmed with help from the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group and features Shiren and Ade discussing topics such as whether the jab is safe, effective, and whether it is halal.

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