The Flu vaccine.
Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.
Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.
However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:
- anyone aged 65 and over
- pregnant women
- children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
- children and adults with weakened immune systems
Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it’s recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is routinely given on the NHS to:
- adults 65 and over
- people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
- pregnant women
- children aged 2 and 3
- children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
For 2018, there are 3 types of flu vaccine:
- A live quadrivalent vaccine (which protects against 4 strains of flu), given as a nasal spray. This is for children and young people aged 2 to 17 years eligible for the flu vaccine
- A quadrivalent injected vaccine. This is for adults aged 18 and over but below the age of 65 who are at increased risk from flu because of a long-term health condition and for children 6 months and above in an eligible group who cannot receive the live vaccine
- An adjuvanted trivalent injected vaccine. This is for people aged 65 and over as it has been shown to be more effective in this age group
If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years old and is in a high-risk group for flu, they will be offered an injected flu vaccine as the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2.
Talk to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist for more information about these vaccines.
Find out more about who should have the flu vaccine.
65 and overs and the flu vaccine
You are eligible for the flu vaccine this year (2018/19) if you will be aged 65 and over on March 31 2019 – that is, you were born on or before March 31 1954. So, if you are currently 64 but will be 65 on March 31 2019, you do qualify.
For more information about flu vaccine please visit www.nhs.uk