Flu vaccine explained: Who is eligible for the winter flu jab?
The Covid-19 pandemic made us realise the importance of vaccines, which have become central to post-lockdown plans, opening up and travelling again.
Now people are being urged to get the latest update of the flu vaccine ahead of what could be a difficult winter for the NHS.
Experts warned that their could be up to 60,000 deaths this winter due to respiratory illnesses.
An Academy of Medical Sciences report on how flu and Covid-19, as well as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), would be a difficult combination for the NHS to deal with and that vaccinations are key to preventing so many hospital admissions.
A lack of exposure last winter due to lockdown means that general levels of immunity to viruses are suspected to be lower than normal and could contribute to the unusually high numbers of hospital admissions and deaths.
As a result, the government is attempting the largest flu vaccination programme in NHS history.
The public have been urged to get the vaccine on top of becoming fully vaccinated to the coronavirus and receiving the booster jab.
Where can I get my flu vaccine?
The NHS give the following guidelines on how to get your flu vaccine.
You can have the NHS flu vaccine at:
- your GP surgery
- a pharmacy offering the service
- your midwifery service if you're pregnant
- a hospital appointment
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:
- are 50 and over (including those who'll be 50 by 31 March 2022)
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant
- are in long-stay residential care
- receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
- frontline health or social care workers
Can I get my flu vaccine if I am double vaccinated?
You can get a flu jab if you are double vaccinated for Covid.
People are being encouraged to get both the flu vaccine and the coronavirus booster as they are at risk of catching both and you should also receive a text asking for you to get your coronavirus booster as soon as you are eligible.
Flu vaccines are entirely normal and regular, but these are just slightly exceptional circumstances.
You can receive your booster and flu vaccine at the same time, though this will depend on the logistical capabilities of wherever you receive your vaccination.
Around 28 million are currently eligible for the booster with approximately 1.7 million receiving it so far.