Flu vaccination

The flu vaccination

Flu occurs every year and most people usually recover within a week, but for some the disease can be dangerous and increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.

Are you at increased risk?

Flu can affect anyone, but some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu. The flu jab is free for everyone who is at increased risk including:

  • pregnant women
  • everyone who has long-term health condition like: a heart problem, bronchitis, emphysema, severe asthma, kidney disease, liver disease or diabetes
  • carers
  • everyone aged 65 and over

What about children?

This year, the following groups of children are being offered the flu vaccination:

  • All 2 to 3-year-old children - for children aged 2 and 3, the flu vaccine is not an injection, but a quick and painless nasal spray. This is given by your Practice Nurse at your GP surgery.
  • All children in school years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 - parents of children in years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 will be asked to give permission for their child to get the free nasal spray vaccination at school.
  • Children over six months of age who have a health condition such as a heart problem, bronchitis, emphysema, severe asthma, neurological condition or lowered immunity will be offered the flu vaccine. If they are under 2 years old this will be given by injection.
  • If you are pregnant, having the flu vaccine will protect you and your baby.

The nasal vaccine

The nasal vaccine contains a highly processed form of porcine gelatine. The gelatine helps to keep the vaccine viruses stable. Find out more about vaccines with porcine gelatine on the Gov.UK website.

When and where to get the flu jab?

It is best to have the flu vaccination in the autumn. You will need a flu jab every year, as the flu virus can change from year to year.

The flu jab is free for everyone at increased risk. To get the vaccination, speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist, or visit the flu jab page on the NHS Choices website for more advice and information.