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NHS Flu Vaccination Service

Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.

You can get your flu jab in Highgate from our pharmacy. Walk in to our store today or call us on 020 8340 3663

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?

Those eligible for NHS influenza vaccination in 2021 to 2022 are:

  • all children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021
  • those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • pregnant women
  • those aged 50 years and over
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • frontline health and social care staff employed by:

- registered residential care or nursing home

- registered domiciliary care provider

- a voluntary managed hospice provider

- Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants.

If you have your flu vaccine at a pharmacy, you don't have to inform your GP – it is up to the pharmacist to do that.

How effective is the flu vaccine?

Flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus that can cause unpleasant illness in children and severe illness and death among at-risk groups, including older people, pregnant women and those with an underlying medical health condition.

Studies have shown that the flu vaccine will help prevent you getting the flu. It won't stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary, so it's not a 100% guarantee that you'll be flu-free, but if you do get flu after vaccination it's likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been.

There is also evidence to suggest that the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Over time, protection from the injected flu vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains often change. So new flu vaccines are produced each year, which is why people advised to have the flu vaccine need it every year too.

Read more about how the flu vaccine works.

Flu vaccine side effects

Serious side effects of the injected flu vaccine are very rare. You may have a mild fever and aching muscles for a couple of days after having the vaccine, and your arm may be a bit sore where you were injected.

Side effects of the nasal spray vaccine may commonly include a runny or blocked nose, headache, tiredness and some loss of appetite.

Read more about the side effects of the flu vaccine.

How safe is the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccines used in the national programme have a good safety record.

When to have a flu vaccine

The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to end of November, but don't worry if you've missed it, you can have the vaccine later in winter. Ask your GP or pharmacist.

Is there anyone who shouldn't have the flu vaccine?

Most adults can have the injected flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.

Read more about who shouldn't have the flu vaccine.

You can find out more by reading the answers to the most common questions that people have about the flu vaccine.