Why is the flu vaccine so important this year?
This year the flu vaccine is more important than ever. While it won’t protect you from getting COVID-19, the flu vaccine will reduce your risk of getting the seasonal flu that appears every winter. In reducing your risk of flu you are also reducing your risk of needing admission to hospital and as such reducing the strain on the NHS.
Who should receive the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is given to the following groups of people:
- Those aged 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- Those in long-stay residential care
- Those who live with someone who has been advised to shield during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Frontline and social care workers
- Those with the following health conditions:
- Respiratory conditions (asthma/COPD/emphysema/bronchitis)
- Heart conditions (coronary heart disease/heart failure)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Severe obesity (BMI >40)
- Liver disease (hepatitis)
- Neurological conditions (Parkinson’s disease/MS/cerebral palsy/motor neurone disease)
- Learning disabilities
- Problems with your spleen
- A weakened immune system due to a condition such as HIV, taking steroid tablets or receiving chemotherapy
5 common myths about the flu vaccine
The flu isn’t that serious
As many as 650,000 people die of the flu every year
The flu vaccine will give me the flu
The injected flu vaccine contains an inactivated version of the virus that will not give you the flu
The flu vaccine could give me severe side effects
The flu vaccine is proven to be safe. You may experience some aching or mild fever for a day or two afterwards, but severe side effects are very rare with the most severe affecting 1 in a million people.
I still got the flu despite the vaccine so it can’t work
Several influenza viruses are circulating in the population at any one time. The flu vaccine is designed to target just one strain of flu, so you may still contract a different version but your symptoms are likely to be milder and not last as long. Being vaccinated still improves your chances of being protected from the flu.
I’m pregnant and have no medical conditions so I don’t need the flu vaccine
Your immune system is weaker than usual during pregnancy so it’s important to get the flu vaccine even if you have no other medical conditions. The flu vaccine is safe throughout pregnancy.
Is it safe for you to go out to get the flu vaccine?
Changes have been made in surgeries and pharmacies to make it as safe as possible for you to get your flu vaccine. These changes include regular handwashing, social distancing and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). If you’re attending to get your flu jab you may be asked to wear a mask – this is for the protection of you and those around you.
How can you get your flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine will be available from early October. You can make an appointment with your local pharmacy or GP surgery to receive yours.
We look forward to seeing you!
Primrose Hill Surgery
Telephone 020 7722 0038