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FLU 2020-2021

Each year the NHS prepares for the unpredictability of flu. For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease with recovery generally within a week.

However, there is a particular risk of severe illness from catching flu for anyone in an at risk group. These groups are more likely to develop serious complications from flu such as pneumonia (a lung infection), therefore, it is recommended that they have the flu vaccination each year to help to protect them.

  • older people -over 65
  • the very young
  • pregnant women
  • those with underlying disease, such as chronic respiratory or cardiac disease
  • those who are immunosuppressed

This year you are also recommended to have the flu vaccine if you are:

  • the main carer of an older or disabled person
  • a household contact of someone on the Shielded Patients List for COVID-19
  • a child aged 2 to 11 years old on 31 August 2020

Due to covid-19 the national flu immunisation is essential in order to protect vulnerable people and to support the resilience of the NHS. The scheme has been extended to include those aged 50 to 64 but it is anticipated that this cohort will not be vaccinated until December 2020 into early 2021. Those considered most at risk will be first in line for their flu vaccination.

There are several types of flu vaccine.

If you’re eligible for the flu vaccine on the NHS, you’ll be offered one that is most effective for you, depending on your age:

  • children aged 2 to 17 are offered a live vaccine (LAIV) as a nasal spray; the live viruses have been weakened so it cannot give you flu
  • adults aged 18 to 64 are offered an injected inactivated vaccine; there are different types but none contains live viruses so they cannot give you flu
  • adults aged 65 and over are offered an injected inactivated vaccine; the most common one contains an adjuvant to help your immune system have a stronger response to the vaccine

If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years old and is in a high-risk group for flu, they’ll be offered an injected flu vaccine because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2.

Talk to a GP, practice nurse or pharmacist for more information about these vaccines. For more information please the link below.

 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/