The NHS warns that this winter could be its most challenging to date, with a potential 50% increase in flu cases, while hospitals will continue to need to treat COVID patients. There is also some concern that locally, the uptake of flu jabs is low, by people who are eligible to receive them for free.
If you have not yet had your flu jab or booked it in, please get yourself (and therefore your family and friends) protected. Vaccination is available at your GP practice or participating pharmacy. You don’t need to wait to be contacted, and if you go to a pharmacy, you do not need to update your GP practice – that will happen automatically.
In some circumstances you may be offered a COVID-19 booster and a flu jab at the same time, although in most cases the programmes are being run independently. If you are offered both vaccines, it is safe to have them at the same time.
Here’s a reminder of everyone who qualifies this year:
- Everyone over 50 (including if you will be 50 by March 31, 2022)
- If you have certain health conditions such as diabetes, respiratory or heart conditions, chronic kidney or liver disease, a learning disability, some neurological conditions, a weakened immune system, or are very overweight with a Body Mass Index over 40
- If you are pregnant
- Anyone living in long-stay residential care
- If you receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- Anyone who lives with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis)
- All frontline health or social care workers
- All children aged 2 or 3 years old on 31 August 2021
- All primary school-aged children
- All year 7 to year 11 secondary school-aged children
- Children with a health condition that puts them at greater risk from flu
Information for parents
The flu vaccine, available free on the NHS for children, is given to most children as a quick and painless spray in each nostril:
- children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2021 (born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2019) – vaccine given at GP practice
- all primary school children (reception to year 6) – vaccine given at school
- all year 7 to year 11 children in secondary school - vaccine given at school
- children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions - vaccine given at school or GP practice