The flu vaccine is offered every year on the NHS to protect people at risk of getting seriously ill from the flu. Now it’s time to get your flu vaccine before flu starts spreading.
Why it’s important
It is important that you get your flu vaccine this year, as more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, if you were to have COVID-19 and flu at the same time, research shows that you are more likely to be seriously ill.
So, protect yourself and those around you, by getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19.
If you are eligible for the flu vaccine and still need your COVID-19 jab or have been invited for your booster jab, it is safe to have both at the same time.
Who can have the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who are:
- are 50 and over (including those who'll be 50 by 31 March 2022)
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant (if you are pregnant and want to learn more about the flu vaccine, click here)
- are in 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 more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
- frontline health or social care workers
Where to get the flu vaccine
You can have the NHS flu vaccine at:
- your GP surgery
- a pharmacy offering the service
- your midwifery service if you're pregnant
- a hospital appointment
If you have a long-term health condition you can also be offered a free flu vaccination.
The flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS to anyone with a serious long-term health condition, including:
- respiratory conditions, such as asthma (needing steroid inhaler or tablets), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and bronchitis
- heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure
- being very overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
- chronic kidney disease
- liver disease, such as hepatitis
- neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
- a learning disability
- problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease, or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or taking medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
Talk to your doctor if you have a long-term condition that is not in one of these groups. They should offer you the flu vaccine if they think you're at risk of serious problems if you get flu.
Is the flu vaccine safe in pregnancy
Yes. Studies have shown that it's safe to have the flu vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date.
Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.
It's safe for women who are breastfeeding to have the vaccine.