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Flu vaccination

The annual flu vaccination programme helps protect children, vulnerable adults and older people from the influenza virus which can cause serious illness and even death.

Flu is often used interchangeably with influenza, influenza is the virus that causes flu.

Flu has similar symptoms to the common cold but is more serious and can be deadly in some cases, anyone who has had flu will tell you that it feels much worse than the average cold and usually lasts for several weeks.

The vaccination programme is annual because each year the flu virus changes as the disease travels around the world, so the injection is modified based on the patterns of influenza in the southern hemisphere as it travels across towards the UK.

The 2021 to 2022 national programme focuses vaccination on those who are most likely to be at risk of serious harm from catching influenza:

  • all children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021
  • those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • pregnant women
  • those aged 50 years and over
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers
  • close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • frontline health and social care staff

It’s really important that everyone in the groups listed by the NHS gets a FREE flu jab every year. The free flu jabs are available at your GP surgery and most community pharmacies. If you are pregnant, your midwifery service may provide the flu jab too.

Find out more about the flu vaccination programme

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