- What is flu?
- What are the symptoms of flu?
- Who is at greatest risk from flu?
- Why should I be vaccinated?
- Where can I get vaccinated?
- When can I get vaccinated?
- How often do I need to be vaccinated?
- Am I eligible for a free vaccination?
- Will a flu vaccination give me flu?
- How does a flu vaccination work?
- How are flu vaccines produced?
Am I eligible for a free vaccination?
Many people are eligible for a free flu vaccination paid for by the NHS. This is to ensure they are protected against flu and potential serious complications. The more people that get vaccinated against flu, the less it can spread within a community1.
Certain groups of adults are eligible for a free flu vaccination. This includes anyone aged 65 and over and pregnant women, and anyone with the following long-term health conditions2:
- Problems with your spleen or you have had your spleen removed
- A weak immune system (also known as immunosuppression) whether this is caused by illness or treatments such as chemotherapy
- Chronic heart, kidney or liver disease
- Severe asthma
- Chronic respiratory disease (including COPD, cystic fibrosis or emphysema)
- Chronic neurological disease, including stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)
- Morbid obesity (adults with BMI > or equal 40 Kg/m2)
You can get your free flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy, while most pharmacies in the UK also offer private jabs.
Workers with patient contact
Carers3, front line health and social care workers2,4 are eligible for a free flu vaccination. This is both to protect them from the virus so that they can continue to care for people, and to prevent them from passing on flu to the people they care for.
Prevention is particularly important for healthcare workers, as anyone can contract and pass on the virus days before they experience any symptoms or take any time off sick5.
If you are a frontline healthcare worker or social worker, your employer should arrange and pay for a flu vaccination for you2,4.
Children aged 6 months and older falling in one of the risk categories should receive a free flu vaccine under the NHS6. Also the NHS Childhood National Immunisation Programme offers all children in certain age groups free flu vaccination2. Please speak to your GP or school nurse about vaccination of your child
*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine. October 2017. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm (accessed July 2018)
- Public Health England. National flu immunisation programme plan for 2018 to 2019. March 2018. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-flu-immunisation-programme-plan (accessed July 2018)
- Carers UK. Flu Jabs for Carers. Available online: http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/flu-jabs (accessed July 2018)
- NHS Choices. Who should have the flu vaccine. July 2016. Available online: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/who-should-have-flu-vaccine.aspx (accessed July 2018)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How Flu Spreads. October 2017. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm (accessed July 2018)
- NHS Choices. Children’s Flu Vaccine. July 2016. Available online: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/child-flu-vaccine.aspx (accessed July 2018)