People who are most at risk from the complications of flu are recommended
to get a flu vaccine every year. This winter it is especially important with flu
and coronavirus (COVID-19) both in circulation. Research shows that if you
get both at the same time you may be more seriously ill.
*Update December 2020*
Many of you will be pleased to hear that the Department of Health has told us that we can start to offer flu vaccines to people between the ages of 50 and 64 years from December 1st.
As you may realise, the Surgery had only sufficient stock for our most vulnerable, high risk patients and will only now be able to order more vaccines for this new age group.
It may be several weeks before we receive our next batch of vaccines so we are planning to hold a mass-vaccination in mid-January to ensure we can meet demand.
Who is eligible for a flu vaccine?
You can get a free flu vaccine if you are: aged 65 years old and over (including those aged 65 by 31 March 2021); have certain health conditions; are at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list) or live with someone who is; are pregnant; or receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer of an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick.
Children aged 2 to 11 years old on the 31 August 2020 are also eligible for the flu vaccine (with school aged children being offered it in school).
Some health and social care workers can also get a flu vaccine at a GP surgery or pharmacy.
Visit www.nhs.uk/flujab for more information on why it is important to have the flu vaccine and check whether you are eligible.
I am in one of the listed groups. Why am I being asked to wait to have my flu vaccine?
Overall there is no shortage of flu vaccine with enough ordered to vaccinate 30 million people. However, it is usual for manufacturers to stagger deliveries of vaccine so you may have to wait to receive your vaccination.
When the first deliveries arrive in September, vaccinations begin to be offered and these continue throughout the autumn. This season, early demand for flu vaccine has been higher than usual due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. This means that some GP practices and pharmacies will have to ask people to wait until they receive further deliveries.
Why are some people still being offered the vaccine and not others?
There are several types of flu vaccines available. You will be offered one that is recommended for you based on your age. This means some people will be offered a flu vaccine that is in stock while others, who need a different type of vaccine, may have to wait.
Wouldn’t it be better to have any type of flu vaccine rather than wait?
Providers of flu vaccination services are required to offer the vaccine that is most effective for you. It is better to wait to get the right vaccine so that you get the most benefit from it.
When do you need to have a flu vaccination for it to offer protection?
It is best to have the vaccine before flu starts to circulate, which is usually from December onwards. But if it is later in the year than this, it is still worth having.
The priority this season is to vaccinate those who are most at risk from flu first, including anyone aged 50 to 64 years old who has a health condition that makes them more at risk from flu. Other healthy 50 to 64 year olds will be offered the vaccine later on in the season (from November/December) when additional supply becomes available.