With flu and Covid-19 co-circulating this winter it is more important than ever to get the flu jab to not only protect yourselves and those around you but also to protect the most vulnerable people living in our communities as well as our health and care system. If you’re eligible, don’t delay, get your free flu jab!
‘Just’ the flu! There’s no ‘just’ about it!
In an average year the flu virus kills 11,000 people and hospitalises thousands more. The flu vaccine is the best protection for you and those around you. That’s why it’s free to those most at risk.
This year, anyone in a clinical at risk group can get their flu jab for free from their GP or (if over 18) a local pharmacy.
Don’t delay getting your free flu jab!
You should arrange to get your flu jab immediately if you:
- have a long term health condition including asthma (needing steroid inhaler or tablets), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure, liver disease, such as hepatitis
- have a neurological condition, including Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS)
- are aged 65 years and over
- are pregnant
- care for anyone with a long term health condition
- have a BMI over 40
- are a household contact of someone on the NHS Shielded Patient list
Children aged 2 – 3 years are also eligible to receive the vaccine for free from your GP. All primary school aged children and those in year seven at secondary school will receive their vaccination via the childhood flu school based program.
We know many people are concerned about whether getting the flu vaccine is the right thing to do, it is! As we have already said it is the best way to protect yourself and prevent you from spreading the virus to others around you.
What if I’m not eligible for a free flu jab?
If you aren’t eligible for a free flu jab you can still get vaccinated. It will cost around £10-12 and can be done at a local pharmacy. Just look out for posters in their windows to say they’re offering the vaccine or give your preferred pharmacy a call to see if they are offering the jab.
To protect the most vulnerable this winter the vaccine is being prioritised for those most at risk so you may be asked to wait but don’t worry. Pharmacies are receiving the vaccine in batches and there is plenty to go around. Read more about how GPs and pharmacies are prioritising those most at risk.
Let’s bust some myths!
Here are some common myths and the facts about the flu vaccine:
“But I’ve heard the flu jab can give you flu?”
This simply isn’t true. The injected flu vaccine that is 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, but other reactions are very rare.
“The flu vaccine protects you straight away”
It usually takes about 10 days for you to be protected against flu after you get the jab- so, in theory, you could be vaccinated and then pick up flu before you are fully protected.
That’s why it is best to get the vaccine as early as possible and before there’s lots of flu viruses circulating.
“The flu vaccine will stop me from catching a cold”
No, it won’t. The flu vaccine protects you against flu viruses. Colds are caused by other less serious viruses that are completely different from flu.
You may well still get winter colds after getting the flu vaccine, but you’re much less likely to get flu itself- which is potentially a much more serious condition.
On GOV.UK you can read or download:
Easy Read guides to flu vaccination for people with a learning disability.
A leaflet on Who should have the flu vaccination this winter and why, including translated versions in Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Kurdish, Polish, Punjabi, Romani, Romanian, Somali, Tagalog, Tamil, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Urdu and Yiddish