Influenza (flu) is a very common and highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It is much more severe than the common cold and often results in at least two or three days in bed, leading to missed work and school days.
While flu is unpleasant for most people it can be very dangerous and even life threatening for some, particularly people with certain health conditions.
The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. Like all vaccines used in the UK, it’s been approved by the UK’s independent regulatory body for medicines and vaccines. It's offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of getting seriously ill from flu.
If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, it is important to get it every year because the viruses that cause flu change every year. This means the flu (and the vaccine) this year may be different from last year.
The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading. Please come forward for vaccination as soon as you are invited
The flu vaccine is offered to people most at risk of getting seriously ill from flu or who are most likely to pass flu to other people at risk. This year, the free vaccine will be offered to those most at risk from flu first. This includes younger children, older people (65 years and over), those in clinical risk groups and pregnant women
From mid October 2022, people aged 50 to 64 years old that aren’t in a clinical risk group, will also be able to get a free flu vaccine. Please wait until mid October before booking an appointment with your GP practice or a local community pharmacy so those most at risk can get their vaccine first.
Some secondary school aged children will be offered a flu vaccine by the local school-aged immunisation provider service, most likely later in the season.
If your child is in a clinical risk group, please contact your GP if you would like your child to receive the vaccine earlier in the season.