As we are approaching Autumn, the NHS is starting to roll out their winter flu vaccination programme. This blog post explains who is eligible for a free flu vaccine and why you should get one.

September marks the start of the NHS’s winter flu vaccination roll out to help at risk groups fight pneumonia and influenza. The make-up of the vaccine changes each year to fight the latest strains of flu, therefore it is important to have the jab each year.

The eligible groups are as follows:

–        anyone over the age of 65

–        pregnant women

–        children and adults with an underlying health condition (including those with adrenal insufficiency)

–        children and adults with weakened immune systems

–        An annual flu vaccine nasal spray is also now offered to healthy children aged two, three and four years old, and to children in school years one and two.

This year the additional groups are also being offered a free flu jab:

–        People aged 50 to 64 years

–        Secondary school children in years 7, 8 and 9.

Our endocrine nurse Darshna says:

“Getting your flu vaccine is a really great way to protect yourself from flu, which can be a serious illness. Even though having a flu jab does not 100% guarantee that you will not get flu, it should reduce the chances. We would recommend everyone who is eligible to a free vaccine to get one, as preventing flu is better than trying to treat it.”

Side Effects

Serious side effects of the flu vaccine are very rare. Some people experience a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days after having the jab, and a sore arm from where you were injected. It is unlikely that you will require to increase your steroids during this time unless the symptoms persist and you are becoming increasingly unwell. If you have further questions about the flu vaccine or want a refresher on sick day rules then please call our Endocrine Nurse Helpline.

How to get your vaccine

Most GP surgeries have different processes for how to get your flu vaccination. If you haven’t been contacted by end of October and you think that you are eligible for a free vaccine then it may be worth contacting your GP to make sure that you are on their list. Many pharmacies also offer the flu vaccine, although this may not be for free. It is recommended that you leave a gap of 7 days between getting the flu vaccine and the covid-19 winter booster.