Flu vaccinations are offered every year through the NHS to help protect people at risk of getting seriously ill from flu. If you are not eligible for a flu vaccination then you can pay and get this privately at our pharmacies.
Flu vaccination is important because, while flu is unpleasant for most people, it can be dangerous and even life threatening for some people, particularly those with certain health conditions.
The best time to have your flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading.
Getting the flu vaccine:
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to adults who:
The flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS to anyone with a serious long-term health condition, including:
Talk to your doctor if you have a long-term condition that is not in one of these groups. They should offer you a flu vaccine if they think you’re at risk of serious problems if you get flu.
You should have the flu vaccine if you’re pregnant to help protect you and your baby.
It’s safe to have a flu vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.
If you’re a frontline health and social care worker, you should get your flu vaccine through your employer. They may give you the vaccine at your workplace through the occupational health scheme.
If you cannot get a flu vaccine through your employer, you can still get it if you’re employed:
If you are one of these frontline staff, you can get vaccinated at a pharmacy or the GP surgery you are registered with.
If you are employed by a registered residential care or nursing home, or a voluntary managed hospice provider, you may also be offered vaccination at your place of work when the residents or patients are vaccinated.
Most adults can have the flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. This is because some flu vaccines are made using eggs.
Ask a GP or pharmacist for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.
If you’re ill with a high temperature, it’s best to wait until you’re better before having the flu vaccine.
Vaccination gives the best protection against flu.
Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses, although there’s still a chance you might get flu.
If you do get flu after vaccination, it’s likely to be milder and not last as long.
Having a flu vaccine may help stop you spreading flu to other people who could be more at risk of serious problems from flu.
It can take 10 to 14 days for the flu vaccine to work.
Flu vaccines are very safe. All adult flu vaccines are given by injection into the muscle of the upper arm.
Most side effects are mild and only last for a day or so, such as:
Try these tips to help reduce the discomfort:
Allergic reactions to the flu vaccine
It’s very rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the flu vaccine. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.
The person who vaccinates you will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.
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