Additional Information on Flu Vaccinations

Demand for the flu vaccine has been high this year and while we have vaccinated a lot of people, you may be asked to wait. 

There are several types of flu vaccines available. You will be offered one that is recommended for you based on your age. This means some people will be offered a flu vaccine that is in stock while others, who need a different type of vaccine, may have to wait.

It’s important that you wait for us to call you. We are doing our very best to ensure that people who are at the greatest risk from flu are vaccinated as early as possible, in line with supply. 

If you are aged between 50 and 64 and are not in a clinical ‘at risk’ group, the earliest you may be offered a flu vaccination is November. This will be dependent on sufficient vaccines becoming nationally available. Please do not contact your GP practice as no appointments will be offered for people in this age group until then.

This is to ensure that those who are most ‘at risk’ are vaccinated first. If you are aged 50 to 64 and are in a clinical ‘at risk’ group which is eligible for the flu vaccination you will have received an invitation from your GP practice. Please can we ask you only contact the GP practice regarding a flu vaccination if you have been invited to do so. We will publish further information as soon as further flu vaccines are available.

Subject to stock availability we are offer the free flu vaccine to the following patients who:

  • are 65 and over (born on or before 31 March 1956)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant (any stage of pregnancy)
  • are in a long-stay residential care
  • 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
  • live with someone who is at risk of coronavirus (shielded patients)
  • The nasal flu vaccine is available to children aged 2 or 3 before and including 31 August 2020 and children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions

If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years and is in a high-risk group for flu, they'll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray.

If you are within the above cohort of patients, you can now book your appointment. Our phone lines may be busy.  If possible, we would ask that you email for a flu vaccine appointment and we will confirm the date and time.  Please email

If you are vulnerable, are shielding or are concerned about attending, please speak to our reception team who will be happy to help.

NEW COHORT: Aged 50-64 none at risk.Flu vaccine advice for people aged 50-64 

Please note that, if you are aged between 50 and 64 and are not in a clinical ‘at risk’ group, the earliest you may be offered a flu vaccination is November. This will be dependent on sufficient vaccines becoming nationally available. Please do not contact your GP practice as no appointments will be offered for people in this age group until then.

About the flu vaccine 
The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. It’s offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications.

This year, the flu vaccine is especially important because:

  • if you're at higher risk from coronavirus, you're also more at risk of problems from flu
  • if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, you may be more seriously ill

Worried about getting your vaccine this year?

Don’t be worried, your GP surgery has worked hard to make sure its safe for you to have the flu vaccine. When you go for your flu vaccine, you may be asked to your GP practice as usual or you could be asked to go somewhere else, like a community centre. 

If you are asked to go to your GP practice, the staff will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and its important that you wear a face covering unless you are exempt. 

If your surgery is vaccinating its patients in another location, please rest assured that the same stringent measures are put in place to help ensure your safety. 

It’s important to go your appointment unless you, or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms. 

Who should not have the flu vaccine

Most adults can have the flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.

You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. This is because some flu vaccines are made using eggs.

Ask your GP for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.

If you're ill with a high temperature, it's best to wait until you're better before having the flu vaccine.

How effective is the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine gives the best protection against flu.

Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses, although there's still a chance you might get flu.

If you do get flu after vaccination, it's likely to be milder and not last as long.

Having the flu vaccine will also stop you spreading flu to other people who may be more at risk of serious problems from flu.

It can take 10 to 14 days for the flu vaccine to work.

Flu vaccine side effects

Flu vaccines are very safe. Most side effects are mild and only last for a day or so, such as:

  • slightly raised temperature
  • muscle aches
  • sore arm where the needle went in – this is more likely to happen with the vaccine for people aged 65 and over

Try these tips to help reduce the discomfort:

  • continue to move your arm regularly
  • take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen – some people, including those who are pregnant, should not take ibuprofen unless a doctor recommends it

Allergic reactions to the flu vaccine

It's very rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the flu vaccine. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.

The person who vaccinates you will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

Information:

The flu vaccine cannot give you flu

None of the flu vaccines contains live viruses so they cannot cause flu.

If you are unwell after vaccination, you may have something else. Or you may have caught flu before your vaccination had worked.

Flu vaccine ingredients

There are several types of injected flu vaccine. None of them contains live viruses so they are called inactivated vaccines.

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

  • adults aged 18 to 64 – there are different types, including low-egg and egg-free ones
  • adults aged 65 and over – the most common one contains an extra ingredient to help your immune system make a stronger response to the vaccine

Talk to a GP, practice nurse or pharmacist for more information about these vaccines.

Information:

Read more about why vaccines are safe and important, including how they work and what they contain.

Useful links:

On GOV.UK you can read or download leaflets about: