Flu Advice 2021
Getting the flu vaccination is a great way of protecting yourself from flu this winter, especially for those who are at a greater risk of developing potentially serious complications. It’s also the most effective way of reducing the spread of the virus with those we come into contact with, helping ensure Surrey residents stay fit and well this winter.
The flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help us all against the risk of flu and its complications, and for many Surrey residents, it is completely free if you fall into one of the groups below. This year, with COVID-19 in circulation, it’s more important than ever that eligible groups are vaccinated to protect them from flu and the vaccine will be offered to more than 30 million people. The expansion of the flu programme means that many more people will be eligible to receive the free vaccine for the first time, but may not realise this.
Those eligible for a free flu vaccination:
- Pregnant women
- Children aged 2- 11 years old (on the 31 August 2020)
- Member of a shielding household
- 65+ years old
- Have a long-term condition (see a full list on the NHS website).
- a heart problem
- a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
- a kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
- liver disease
- had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- a neurological condition, e.g. multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy
- a learning disability
- a problem with your spleen, e.g. sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
- are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
- Those living in a residential or nursing home
- The main carer of an older person or disabled person (Action for Carers provide more information on the Surrey Carers flu voucher scheme)
- Frontline health and social care workers
People aged between 50 and 64 who are not in a clinical at-risk group may also be offered a free flu vaccination later in the year, providing there is enough vaccine available.
Where can I get my free flu jab?
If you look after someone who is elderly or disabled, you can ask for a flu jab at your GP practice or take a Surrey Carers’ Flu Jab Voucher to your nearest participating community pharmacy to protect yourself this winter before the end of November. Find out more at www.actionforcarers.org.uk/flu
Most community pharmacists now offer flu vaccination to adults (but not children) who are at risk of flu, including pregnant women, people aged 65 and over and people with long-term health conditions.
Discover flu vaccine FAQs on the NHS website.
There are many myths about the flu. Here are some Myth Busters and the facts you need to know:
Myth #1: It’s just flu why should I get vaccinated?
Fact! The impact of flu on frail and vulnerable patients can be fatal and outbreaks can cause severe disruption in communities.
Myth #2: The vaccine gives you flu
Fact! Flu vaccine has a good safety record and will help protect you. It cannot give you flu.
Myth #3: I’m fit and healthy so feel it’s unlikely I’ll get flu
Fact! Everyone is susceptible to flu, even if you are in good health and eat well
Myth #4: I’ve never had flu so don’t think I pose much of a risk to others
Fact! You can be infected with the virus and have no symptoms but can still pass flu virus to others including family, friends, patients or care home residents.
Myth #5: I had the flu vaccine last year so I don’t need it again this year
Fact! The flu vaccine can’t give you lifelong protection and each year the virus changes so you need to have it every year to ensure you’re protected.
Myth #6: I’m just one person, I can’t stop flu spreading
Fact! Having the vaccination can encourage your colleagues to do likewise.
Myth #7: Getting flu is just like having a heavy cold
Fact! Flu is much worse than having a cold and can have you bed ridden for a few days. Flu symptoms come on suddenly and sometimes severely, and include fever, chills, headaches, aching muscles a cough and sore throat.
Myth #8: Good infection control is sufficient in preventing flu
Fact! Good infection control measures reduce spread of flu and other acute respiratory infections but are not sufficient alone to prevent them
Myth #9: Only pregnant women in the third trimester should have the flu jab
Fact! Pregnant women are at increased risk from flu and the flu vaccine can be safely administered during any trimester
Myth #10: Having flu while pregnant won’t harm my baby
Fact! Having flu during pregnancy may be associated with premature birth and smaller birth size and weight
Myth #11: Having the flu jab isn’t going to give any protection against flu to my new-born baby
Fact! Flu vaccination during pregnancy provides passive immunity against flu to infants in the first few months of life
Myth #12: The flu vaccine could harm me or my baby
Fact! No study to date has demonstrated an increased risk of either maternal complications or adverse foetal outcomes associated with inactivated flu vaccine
You may also find the following online resources helpful:
The flu vaccination winter 2020 to 2021: who should have it and why. You’ll find different language versions of this leaflet here.
Protecting your child against flu. You’ll find different language versions of this leaflet here.