Flu vaccination clinics
Flu Vaccination Clinics are here from mid-September and we are offering free vaccination to all eligible patients - if you are eligible, we will be contacting you with an appointment date and time to attend in due course. We have to ensure that those most at risk are vaccinated first to protect them from catching flu and developing serious complications.
It is very important that as many patients as possible are vaccinated in 2020/21 to help reduce the burden on the NHS whilst we continue to manage the coronavirus pandemic. NHS England are looking at expanding the eligibility criteria to include patients aged between 50-64 later on during flu season. At present we are unable to vaccinate patients in this age group unless they are in the "At-Risk" groups.
If you are aged between 50 and 64 and not in a clinical 'at risk group', the earliest you will be offered a flu vaccination is November, (providing there is sufficient vaccine). No appointments will be offered for people in this age group until then. This is to ensure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated first. If this changes, we will contact patients to advise them how to arrange their flu jab.
If you are aged 50 to 64 and are in a clinical ‘at risk’ group which is eligible for the flu vaccination, for example you have a health condition which puts you at risk from the flu, you will be invited earlier.
Please check the information below to see if you are eligible for a free vaccination
Should you have the vaccination?
Yes. Flu is highly contagious. Anyone can get sick with flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age.
Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle or body aches
- fatigue (tiredness)
- some people may have vomiting and diarrohea, (though this is more common in children than adults).
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever
Certain people are at greater risk of developing serious complications of flu, that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. Flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have flu and people with heart failure may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by flu.
The flu vaccine is offered free to people who are at risk, to protect them from catching flu and developing serious complications.
It is very important that as many patients as possible are vaccinated in 2020/21 to help reduce the burden on the NHS whilst we continue to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
Which vaccination will you have?
There are three different types of influenza vaccine available:
- Quadrivalent flu vaccine has been specifically developed for patients aged between 18 to 64 years old that have a long-term condition. ("At-Risk" patients).
- aTIV flu vaccine has been specifically developed for patients aged 65 and over.
- Nasal Flu has been specifically developed for patients aged from 6 months to 17 years of age.
- In 2020/21 NHS England are looking at expanding the eligibility criteria to include patients aged between 50-64 later on duing flu season. At present we are unable to vaccinate patients in this age group unless they are in the "At-Risk" category.
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.
This year’s flu jabs have been tested and approved for use across the UK and in Europe. It cannot give you flu because it does not contain any active viruses.
The Department of Health recommends that everyone who is eligible for the vaccination should have it as soon as it 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.
Find out more about the flu vaccine, including how the vaccine is made and how it protects you.
At risk groups
It is recommended that you have a flu jab if you fall into one or more of the following categories:
- are 65 years old or over
- all pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
- all those aged two and three years old (but not four years or older) on 31st August 2020
- all school-aged children who are part of the childhood programme
- have a serious medical condition (see below)
- are 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)
- people who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill
- Obesity (patients with a BMI greater than or equal to 30)
It is recommended that all pregnant women should have the flu vaccine, whatever stage of pregnancy they're in.
This is because there is good evidence that pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they get flu, particularly from the H1N1 strain ('swine flu').
Studies have shown that the flu vaccine can be safely and effectively given during any trimester of pregnancy. The vaccine does not carry risks for either the mother or baby. In fact, studies have shown that mothers who have had the vaccine while pregnant pass some protection to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.
People with medical conditions
The flu vaccine is offered free to anyone who is over six months of age and has one of the following medical conditions:
- chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, COPD or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological disease, such as a stroke, TIA or post-polio syndrome
- a weakened immune system due to conditions such as HIV, or treatments that suppress the immune system such as chemotherapy
If you live with someone who has a weakened immune system, you may also be able to have a flu vaccine. Speak to your GP about this.
A nasal spray vaccine is offered to all children aged two and three as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. It will also be offered to children aged 2-18 with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.
Children aged six months to 2 years with long-term health conditions aren't able to have the nasal spray and will require the injected flu vaccine instead.
Read more information about:
- the flu vaccine for children
- which children can have the flu vaccine?
- children's flu vaccine side effects
- children's flu vaccine frequently asked questions
If you are the parent of a child who is over six months old and has a long-term condition (listed), speak to your GP about the flu vaccine. Your child's condition may worsen if they catch flu.
When NOT to have the vaccination
DO NOT - If you have previously had an allergic reaction to a flu vaccination or one of it's ingredients. It is very rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the flu vaccination and if it does happen, it usually happens within minutes. The person who vaccinates you or your child will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and will treat them immediately. With prompt treatment, you or your child will make a good recovery.
DO NOT - If you have had a confirmed, serious reaction to egg or have an egg allergy with uncontrolled asthma or another type of allergy to egg. People who have an an egg allergy may be at increased risk of having a reaction to the injectable flu vaccine
If your child has needed intensive care because of an allergic reaction to egg, you should seek advice from their specialist; your child may need to have the vaccination at hospital
Find out which children can and cannot have the nasal spray vaccine
DO NOT - if you have been unwell recently with a fever; wait until you have recovered and your fever has gone.
What should you do if you think you have flu
Flu shares many of the same symptoms as a common cold but with some marked differences. Flu comes on fast, with aches, pains, and a fever and can leave you feeling low for weeks. It is not treatable with antibiotics, so a GP cannot do much for you if you have the flu. You will need to get as much rest as you can, stay hydrated and you can take a tried and trusted flu remedy, specially made to ease your symptoms. In most cases flu can be treated at home and will pass in 7-10 days.
Flu is most contagious in the first five days of infection so it is important that if you DO think you have flu, you should seek advice and avoid coming to the Practice.
Please support your GP surgery
We do not ask ANY pharmacy or supermarket to give you the flu vaccine on our behalf or to gather vital medical updates. We do prefer to do this ourselves please.
You are not 'doing us a favour', or 'saving us time' by having your flu vaccine somewhere else. Nor are the pharmacies and supermarkets 'doing us a favour' by giving you the vaccine.
Pharmacies and supermarkets do not have access to your FULL medical record/history or know you as well as we do.
What will happen at the vaccination clinic appointment?
We will be implementing social distancing measures during our clinics based on the latest Government guidance to ensure patients and Staff stay safe.
We politely request that patients wear a face mask or face covering of some kind, if possible. This can be a face mask, bandana, scarf or similar. Face coverings can be purchased online from a variety of online retailers. For guidance on how you make your own, please click here.
It is recommended to have your injection in the arm you do not favour (eg: if you are righthanded, this would be your left arm) so we will ask you to be ready for your vaccination by having your arm exposed and ready ie: remove outer clothing (jacket, coat etc) and roll up your sleeve, if necessary.