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Flu Vaccine

Flu Vaccine


Everything you need to know
about the Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is a very effective and safe vaccine. Every year, the NHS provides it to people who are at risk of becoming extremely ill from the flu. This page is about the adult flu vaccine. Learn more about the flu vaccine for children. Before the flu season begins, the optimum time to get vaccinated is in the autumn or early January. The vaccine, on the other hand, can be obtained later.

Flu vaccine and coronavirus (COVID-19)

It is critical to get vaccinated against the flu because:

  • Because fewer people developed natural immunity to the flu during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are expected to get it this winter.
  • If you catch the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, you’re more likely to become critically ill, according to a study.
  • Getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines will protect you and the people around you from both of these serious infections.

It’s okay to get the flu vaccine if you’ve had COVID-19. It will continue to be useful in preventing flu.

COVID-19 booster vaccine

Both the flu and the COVID-19 booster vaccines may be available to some persons.

It’s safe to have both immunizations at the same time if you’re offered them.

Who can have the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is free on the NHS for those who meet the following criteria:

  • Are 50 years old or older (including those who will be 50 by March 31, 2022)
  • Have specific health issues
  • Are you expecting a child
  • Are you in a long-term residential facility
  • If you get a carer’s stipend or are the primary caregiver for an elderly or disabled person, your health may be jeopardised if you become ill.
  • Live with a person who is more susceptible to infection (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).
  • Professionals on the front lines of health or social services.

Where to get the flu vaccine

The NHS flu vaccine is available at:

  • Your doctor’s surgery.
  • A local pharmacy
  • if you’re expecting, your midwifery service
  • A visit to the hospital

You are not required to notify your GP clinic if you do not have your flu vaccine there. This will be taken care of for you.

How to book your appointment

If you qualify for a free flu vaccine, you can schedule an appointment at your doctor’s office or a drugstore that provides it through the NHS.

You may also receive a vaccination invitation, but you are not required to wait for this before scheduling an appointment.

The free flu vaccine will be available to everyone who qualifies.

The flu vaccination is delivered in batches to GP offices and pharmacies. If you can’t obtain an appointment right away, inquire about scheduling one when more vaccines become available.

If you have a COVID-19 booster vaccine appointment at a doctor’s office or drugstore, you may be offered a flu vaccine at the same time.

Do not wait to schedule your flu vaccine appointment so that you can receive both doses at the same time. Only a small percentage of patients will be given both vaccines at the same time.

Flu vaccine side effects

Vaccines against the flu are extremely safe. All adult flu vaccines are administered through injection into the upper arm muscle.

The majority of adverse effects are minor and last only a day or two, such as:

  • A small increase in temperature
  • Muscular pains
  • A painful arm where the needle was inserted – this is more likely to occur with the vaccine if you’re 65 or older.

To assist alleviate the ache, try the following suggestions:

  • Keep moving your arm on a regular basis.
  • Use a pain reliever such as paracetamol or ibuprofen – some individuals, such as pregnant women, should not take ibuprofen unless their doctor advises them to.

Allergic reactions to the flu vaccine

A major allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the flu vaccine is extremely uncommon. If this happens, it usually happens in a matter of minutes.

The person who administers the vaccine will be trained to recognise and treat allergic reactions.

Reporting side effects

You can also use the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency’s Yellow Card Scheme to report any side effects you suspect are related to the Flu vaccine.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is in charge of it (MHRA). The MHRA examines yellow card reports on a regular basis. It will conduct an inquiry and, if required, take appropriate action if it suspects a possible problem.

Minor responses such as rashes, fever, vomiting, and redness and swelling where the injection was given have been recorded through the Yellow Card Scheme.

Pharmaceutical companies are also required by law to report serious and suspected adverse occurrences to the MHRA.


Find answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the flu vaccine.

How effective is it?

The flu vaccine provides the most effective protection against the virus.

Although flu shots help protect against the most common types of flu viruses, there’s still a possibility you’ll get sick.

If you acquire the flu after getting vaccinated, it will most likely be milder and last less time.

Getting the flu vaccine also lowers your risk of sharing the virus with others who are more vulnerable to serious complications.

The flu vaccine can take 10 to 14 days to take effect.

What ingredients are in the vaccine?

There are various forms of flu vaccines that can be injected. They don’t contain any live viruses, therefore they can’t give you the flu.

If you’re eligible for the flu vaccine on the NHS, you’ll be given the most effective one for your age group:

  • For adults aged 18 to 64 — a variety of options are available, including low-egg and egg-free options.
  • Adults aged 65 and up — the most frequent vaccine has an additional ingredient to help your immune system respond to the vaccine more effective.

Children with long-term health issues between the ages of 6 months and 2 years are given an approved injectable flu vaccine instead of the nasal spray vaccine.

Learn more about the flu vaccine for children that comes in the form of a nasal spray.

For further information about these immunizations, consult your doctor, practice nurse, or pharmacist.