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Health issues

Flu

Flu is a dangerous virus and it's important we all do what we can to protect ourselves and others.

The flu vaccine is safe, effective and protects millions of people each year from what can be a very serious virus. The vaccine is recommended each year for people who are at greater risk of flu and who could become very ill from the virus and its complications.

Flu vaccinations are usually available from September to offer protection before flu starts circulating in winter.

People at most risk of developing complications from flu or becoming particularly unwell can get the vaccine free of charge from their GP or pharmacy. Pregnant women can also get the vaccine through their midwife.

Anyone can have the flu jab for around £10 from participating pharmacies (subject to availability).

This year it’s particularly important that you get vaccinated to protect yourself and others.

Free flu jab

These people are entitled to a free flu vaccination:

Adults

  • all adults aged 50 years and over (including those who will be aged 50 by 31 March 2022)
  • people with certain health conditions
  • people with a learning disability
  • pregnant women
  • people living in a residential or nursing home
  • people who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person or those who receive a carer’s allowance
  • people who are a household contact of someone on the Shielded Patients List for COVID-19

Children

  • children aged two or three years old on 31 August 2021
  • all primary school children
  • all secondary school children (year 7 to year 11)
  • children aged six months to 17 years old with certain long-term health conditions

Frontline health and social care staff employed by

  • a registered residential care or nursing home
  • a registered domiciliary care provider
  • a voluntary managed hospice provider
  • Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants

If you work in healthcare, for example in the NHS, your employer is responsible for providing your flu vaccine.

If you're at risk of developing complications from flu, your GP practice will contact you to invite you to make an appointment to be vaccinated.

If you’re an adult and are eligible for a free flu vaccine, most local pharmacies can provide flu vaccination free of charge. 

The vaccination programme for pre-school children is provided by GPs. The school immunisation team provide the programme for children at primary and secondary school.

Information for health professionals

Healthcare professionals may find resources available on the government website useful for planning the flu programme for patients and staff:

Care homes, nursing homes and long-stay residential settings may find these NHS resources useful in preparing for winter.

Other vaccinations

There are a number of vaccines offered free of charge to everyone through the NHS. While it's important to have vaccines on time when you're offered them, you can still catch up on most vaccines if you miss them.

If you think you have missed other vaccinations, speak to your GP practice or ask your healthcare professional.