Flu Vaccinations

This page provides information on the importance of flu vaccinations for people who are in high risk category.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses that infect the windpipe and lungs. And because it’s caused by viruses and not bacteria, antibiotics won’t treat it. The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. Healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.

The best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the vaccination before the flu season starts.

Am I at increased risk of from the effects of flu?

Flu can affect anyone but if you have a long-term health condition the effects of flu can make it worse even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well. You should have the free flu vaccine if you are:

  • Pregnant

or have a long term condition such as:

  • a heart problem
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis,emphysema or severe asthma
  • a kidney disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
  • liver disease
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • diabetes
  • a neurological condition, eg multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy
  • a learning disability
  • a problem with your spleen, eg sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
  • are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)

People on the NHS Shielded Patient List for COVID-19 are all eligible for a free flu vaccine and it is really important this year that they receive it.

Who should consider having a flu vaccinations?

All those who have any condition listed above, or who are:

  • aged 65 years or over
  • living in a residential or nursing home
  • the main carer of an older or disabled person
  • a household contact of someone on the NHS Shielded Patient List
  • a frontline health or social care worker
  • pregnant (see the next section)
  • children of a certain age (see page 7–8)


This year, more people will be offered the free flu vaccine later in the autumn. To find out who is included check nhs.uk/fluvaccine.

You can have the NHS flu vaccine at:

  • your GP surgery
  • a pharmacy offering the service
  • your midwifery service if you're pregnant

If you have your flu vaccine at a pharmacy, you do not have to tell the GP. The pharmacist should tell them.

 

Last updated: 01 April 2021 09:35:22