It's hard to believe, but people still die from influenza and its complications. But it’s not like centuries ago; today we have a choice and a chance to survive.
Influenza is not only unpleasant, it can increase your chances of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions you have worse. This is why the NHS vaccination programme exists to help protect those most at risk from complications.
About the vaccine
Each year a vaccine is developed to protect us against the strains of influenza virus that are predicted to be circulating that winter.
Who should have the influenza vaccination?
- If you're aged 65 or over, health experts recommend that you have your seasonal influenza vaccination every year.
- Influenza viruses are forever changing and your immunity can weaken, particularly as we get older so
- Get protected every year! After all it’s FREE!
NHS influenza vaccination programme
The influenza vaccination is free through the NHS influenza vaccination programme to people who.
- Are aged 65 and over
- Have a long-term medical condition
- Are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
- Are the main carer for someone whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- Is a frontline health or social care worker
- Provides care on a voluntary basis
As part of the NHS influenza vaccination programme, your GP practice should write to you with an invitation to attend a ‘flu clinic’ with a date and time to have the influenza vaccination at your surgery.
Not had your invitation?
If you haven't had an invitation from your GP surgery, and you think you could be eligible for a free influenza vaccination then, contact your surgery directly.
House bound or care for someone who is?
If you, or someone you know is housebound, or cares for someone full time, then it should be made possible for a district nurse to come out to vaccinate the carer and the person being cared for at their home.
When should I have my influenza vaccination (flu jab)?
Ideally, the sooner - the better. It can take up to two weeks for immunity to build so it’s best to have the influenza vaccination as soon as it becomes available to you during the autumn - September / October time, but any time is better than not at all.
Spread the warmth, not the flu
We can all do our bit to help protect older people in our communities.
Did you know ... you don’t have to be 65 or older to have the influenza vaccination?
Influenza is a horrible virus that affects us all. You can still choose to have an influenza vaccination even if you don’t fall into one of the above categories. It won’t be free, but it could be the best money you spend this year; keeping you well enough to visit and enjoy the company of older friends, relatives and neighbours during the winter months.
Ask at your local pharmacy for your influenza vaccination.
Handy hint: By having the vaccination you are not only protecting yourself but you are protecting others too, loved ones, family, friends and colleagues. The more of us who are vaccinated the less chance influenza has to spread.
So ... help spread the warmth and not influenza this winter.
What are the side effects of having a flu jab?
Your vaccinated arm may be sore, you may have a slight temperature or aching muscles for a few days; this is what health professionals call ‘a natural immunity response’ to the vaccine.
Adult vaccination can’t give you flu!
The influenza vaccination can’t give you influenza as the adult vaccine doesn’t contain a live virus.
Speak to NHS Direct, or your pharmacist, if you're concerned.
Please take a moment to watch this short clip of how it could make all the difference to your health this winter.
No matter how healthy you are, influenza can still pose a risk and take a long time to fully recover from.