Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.
Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.
However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:
- anyone aged 65 and over
- pregnant women
- children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
- children and adults with weakened immune systems
Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it's recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them. We actively invite patients in these risk groups from September 1st, and the 'flu season' ends on March 31st.
It will be indicated on your record if you are eligible for the vaccination, and you will receive an invitation by text message or letter. You will also be offered the jab during the winter unless you tell us you do not wish to have it, which will also be recorded.
When to have a flu jab
The jab provides six to eight months of protection and the best time is before the October-to-early-November flu season. There is no downside to getting vaccinated at any other time, but this is when flu risk is at its peak.
How effective is the flu jab?
The vaccine is effective at reducing the chance of catching flu and at ameliorating the severity of symptoms if you do. However it cannot guarantee 100 per cent protection against the unpredictable influenza virus, which has multiple strains.
Click here for more information about the flu jab.
A vaccine to prevent shingles, a common, very painful skin disease, is available on the NHS to certain people in their 70s. We strongly recommend that eligible patients receive the vaccine. They only need to have the vaccination once and can have it at any time of the year (most people find it convenient to have it at the same times as the flu jab).
The following groups are eligible for the vaccine:
Aged 70 years. Plus anyone in their 70s who was born after 1 September 1942 and has not yet had the vaccine.
Aged 78 years. Plus anyone aged 79 years old who has missed out on the vaccine
The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS if you are aged 80 or over because it is less effective in this age group.
Please ring the surgery to book your appointment as soon as possible.