Each year the NHS offers the flu vaccine to eligible individuals to help stop the spread of flu.
The flu vaccine is safe, effective and very important because while flu is unpleasant for most people, it can be dangerous and even life threatening for some people, particularly those with certain health conditions. Every winter thousands die from flu. The flu vaccine is our best protection. Over the last few years it has kept thousands of people out of hospital and helped to save countless lives.
The best time to have your flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading.
If you are eligible, you can book a flu vaccine through your GP practice, local pharmacy, or the NHS App School-aged children will get their flu vaccine through schools. Visit to the UK schools vaccination website to book your child’s flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine gives the most effective prevention against flu. The vaccine can also help stop you spreading flu to those who are vulnerable and potentially unable to be vaccinated.
The flu vaccine can take around 10 to 14 days to work, so it is important to get it as soon as you are invited. Preferably autumn or early winter before the flu virus starts circulating. To find out more about eligibility and where you can have your flu vaccine click here.
Pregnant women are at risk of serious complications if they get flu whilst pregnant. It is safe to have the flu vaccine during pregnancy, should you be pregnant through flu season. The vaccine protects you and your baby. Find out more here.
Young children can catch and spread flu easily. For some, flu can lead to potential complications like bronchitis and pneumonia. To combat this they are offered the nasal spray flu vaccine every year from around 2 years of age until they leave primary school.
Some secondary school aged children and children with long term health conditions are also eligible for the flu vaccine every year. This may be the nasal spray or the flu vaccine injection, depending on their care needs.
Children’s vaccines take place in different settings including at the GP practice, a community clinic or at school. This will depend on your child’s individual circumstances.
Read more about the children’s flu vaccine, including eligibility criteria, here.
If you’re a health or social care worker you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine. Speak to your employer, your GP or you can go to any Pharmacy. Simply take your employee ID card
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If you are not sure if you have had all your vaccines submit an online request with your GP practice to ask. Your GP practice will identify missing vaccinations and schedule a catch-up if needed.