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Seasonal Flu Information

Flu vaccine overview

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're otherwise healthy, it'll usually clear up on its own within a week.

But 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) or 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.

For more information please visit NHS Flu vaccine overview

Am I Eligible for a free flu jab?

If you are affected by any of the following then you 're likely to be eligible for a free flu vaccination funded by the NHS (England and Wales only), which can be provided in selected pharmacies.

You're eligible for a FREE NHS flu vaccine if:

Anyone over 65 years of age

Persons between 18 and 64 years of age in the following categories:
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Chronic neurological disease
  • Diabetes
  • Immunosuppression
  • Asplenia / splenic dysfunction
  • Pregnant woman
  • Person in long-stay residential care home or care facility
  • Carer
  • Household contact of immunocompromised individual
  • Morbid obesity (BMI ≥ 40)
  • 50-64 years (not in risk group)- Will be available after a set date by NHS E
  • Learning disability
  • Household contact of person on NHS shielded patient list
  • Employed through Direct Payment of Personal Health Budget
  • Social care worker
  • Hospice worker
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Frequently asked questions

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.

Is there any 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, a headache, tiredness and some loss of appetite.

How safe is the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccines used in the national programme have a good safety record.
Flu vaccines that have been licensed recently in England have been thoroughly tested before they're made available, and have been used in other countries with 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 the end of November.
But do not worry if you have missed it, as you can have the vaccine later in winter. Ask a GP or pharmacist.

Is there anyone who should not 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.
You can find out more by reading the answers to the most common questions that people have about the flu vaccine. Read more

Eligibility Criteria for the following services

Anyone over 65 years of age

Persons between 18 and 64 years of age in the following categories:
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Chronic neurological disease
  • Diabetes
  • Immunosuppression
  • Asplenia / splenic dysfunction
  • Pregnant woman
  • Person in long-stay residential care home or care facility
  • Carer
  • Household contact of immunocompromised individual
  • Morbid obesity (BMI ≥ 40)
  • 50-64 years (not in risk group)- Will be available after a set date by NHS E
  • Learning disability
  • Household contact of person on NHS shielded patient list
  • Employed through Direct Payment of Personal Health Budget
  • Social care worker
  • Hospice worker
All the below who have previously not received a dose of Pneumococcal Polysaccharide (PPV)
  • People aged 65 years and over
  • Chronic respiratory disease aged 18 to 64 years
  • Chronic heart disease aged 18 to 64 years
  • Chronic kidney disease aged 18 to 64 years
  • Chronic liver disease aged 18 to 64 years
  • Diabetes aged 18 to 64 years
  • Immunosuppression & asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen aged 18 to 64 years
  • Individuals with cochlear implants aged 18 to 64 years

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