- 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?
How often do I need to be vaccinated?
You should get a flu vaccination every year. This is because a flu vaccine you had last year may not protect you this year as flu viruses usually differ from one season to the other1. Therefore the formulation of the vaccine is changed every year in-line with the changing nature of this virus1:
When should I be vaccinated?
Flu vaccines are typically available from the beginning of the flu season, from around September onwards2. Get vaccinated as soon as possible ideally before the end of November, to ensure you’re protected right through the winter3.
Why do flu vaccines run out?
Sometimes, not enough doses of vaccine are produced to match demand if a major flu outbreak strikes, or if more people than predicted request a flu vaccine.
Getting a flu vaccination
Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu4.
You can get your free NHS flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy, while most pharmacies in the UK also offer private jabs.
*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.
- NHS Choices. Flu vaccine FAQs. July 2016. Available online: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/flu-vaccine-questions-answers.aspx (accessed July 2018)
- NHS Choices. How the flu vaccine works. July 2016. Available online: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/how-flu-vaccine-works.aspx (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)
- World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet, January 2018. Available online: http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal) (accessed July 2018)