Important information about the seasonal flu vaccine
Seasonal flu happens every year, usually in the winter. It is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus and spreads easily from person to person.
Flu is far more serious than a cold. Symptoms hit you suddenly and severely and usually include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles - you can often get a cough and sore throat at the same time.
A vaccine is available every year to protect those people who are most at risk from catching or spreading flu. The vaccine is available free of charge to the following at risk groups:
- people aged 65 or over
- all pregnant women
- individuals six months to under 65 years in clinical “at risk” groups.
- a chest problem or breathing difficulties (such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema)
- a heart problem
- kidney disease or liver disease
- a neurological condition (such as Parkinson's, motor neurone disease or cerebral palsy)
- a low immune system due to disease (such as cystic fibrosis or Chrohn's disease) or treatment (such as chemotherapy)
- have previously had a stroke
- a problem with the spleen (such as sickle cell disease) or if the spleen has been removed.
You should also have the vaccine if you:
- live in a residential or nursing home
- are a main carer.
Children with any of the conditions listed above or who have previously been admitted to hospital with chest or breathing problems should also have the vaccine.
Where can I get the vaccine?
The vaccine is available free of charge to people in at risk groups from your GP practice. Please do not be complacent or wait until there is a flu outbreak this winter - book an appointment as soon as possible.
Catch it, bin it, kill it!
The best way to avoid flu is to get the vaccine, but you can also protect yourself and those around you by practising good hand hygiene with the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' technique. This means carrying tissues, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throwing away the tissue after one use, and cleaning your hands as soon as possible with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel.