Flu Vaccination Season
Flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. It spreads rapidly through small droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person. For most people, flu is unpleasant but not serious. You will usually recover within a week.
Studies have shown that flu vaccines provide effective protection against the flu, although protection may not be complete and may vary between people. Protection from the vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains change over time. Therefore, new vaccines are made each year and people at risk of flu are encouraged to be vaccinated every year.
The flu vaccination is offered to people in at-risk groups. These people are at greater risk of developing serious complications if they catch flu, such as pregnant women and elderly people.
Vaccinations are offered to patients over 65 years of age, housebound patients, pregnant women and at risk patients. Patients considered to be at risk are those who suffer with the following conditions: Asthma, Bronchitis, Chest problems, Heart Disease, Liver Disease, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, or a Disease of Immune System.
If you are a carer of a patient with any any of the above long term conditions and registered with the practice, you may also be entitled to a flu vaccination.
It is also recommended that pregnant women are vaccinated.
If you have any query about your entitlement to a flu vaccination, please call the surgery and the Practice Nurse or the Health Care Assistant will be happy to advise you.
Should I get the vaccine?
It is recommended that you have a flu jab if you are:
65 years old or over
living with a serious medical condition
living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility (not including prisons, young offender institutions or university halls of residence)
the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
a frontline health or social care worker
the parent of a child who is over six months old and has a long-term condition, speak to your GP about the flu vaccine. Your child's condition may get worse if they catch flu.
Is the vaccine safe?
Although no medical procedure is totally free of risk, flu vaccines are generally very safe. The most common reaction to the jab is a sore arm, or you may feel hot for a day or two after the vaccination.
This year’s flu jabs have been tested and approved for use across the UK and in Europe. The jab cannot give you flu because it doesn't contain any active viruses.
The Department of Health recommends that everyone who is eligible for a flu jab should have it as soon as the vaccine is available.
If you are in an at-risk group and do not have the jab, you will have a greater risk of developing serious complications or even dying if you get flu this winter.
If you haven't had the flu vaccine and you are in a risk group, make an appointment to get vaccinated.
Find out more about the flu vaccine, including how the vaccine is made and how it protects you.
Children's flu vaccine
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that all children from age 2 to 17 should have the annual influenza vaccination.
The vaccine will be given as a nasal spray rather than an injection.
For more information on the reasons behind this recommendation and the safety of the vaccine read the NHS flu vaccine for children Q&A.
Further reading: JCVI. Position statement on the annual influenza vaccination programme. (Published online July 25 2012)