In the UK the flu vaccine is available each year from late September or early October onwards. The flu vaccine protects against the four main strains of the virus, which can change every year. It’s recommended to get a flu vaccine now as it takes up to two weeks after vaccination for a person to be protected against flu. Last year, more than 14 million adults and children in England were vaccinated against flu. Where can you get your vaccination?
To find a cheap, or sometimes even a free, flu jab is easy and arguably more beneficial than ever.
This comes after Public Health England announced an improved flu vaccine being introduced this year and could save hundreds of lives.
The extra ingredient in the new flu jab is said to be more effective, particularly for the elderly.
NHS said: “Some community pharmacies now offer flu vaccination to adults at risk of flu, including pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, people with long-term health conditions and carers.
If you have your flu vaccine at a pharmacy, you do not have to inform a GP. It’s up to the pharmacist to do that.”
If a person falls into one of the clinical risk groups and are advised to have the flue jab on the NHS, they may be offered the jab free of charge.
Conditions for free jab include bing registered with a GP in England or Wales, being aged 18 and over and you:
- Are aged 65 or over
- Are pregnant
- Are a health or social care worker in a residential or a nursing home, hospice or with a home care provider
- Are a resident of a nursing or residential home
- Share a household with someone who has an impaired immune system
- Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) f 40 or more
- Caring for someone whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- Aged 18 and over who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance
- Aged 18 and over who are the main carer for an elderly or disable person
- Have diabetes, lung disease, asthma, heart, kidney, or liver conditions, HIV, or have had a spleen removed
- Any long-term neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
- Children aged from two to Year five in primary school
For anyone not eligible for a free flu jab, it is still possible to get vaccinated at a relatively low cost. Pharmacies offering a flu vaccination, from cheapest to most expensive, are:
You can find a Asda pharmacy in 255 of their stores nationwide and open seven days a week. Price for vaccination is £7.
The flu jab is available at selected Tesco pharmacies. Price for vaccination is £9.
Superdrug are offering a walk-in vaccination service to help prevent flu. Price for vaccination is £9.99.
Request an appointment online or visiting a Lloyds pharmacy. Price for vaccination is £11.50.
Service is available in over 2,000 of their Boots pharmacies. Price for vaccination is £12.99.
Common side effects of flu vaccines are:
- Pain, swelling, bruising, redness at the injection site
- Slightly raised temperature
- Aching joints or muscles
Oxford University said: “Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record. They are the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which can cause severe illness and deaths each year among at-risk groups.
It is important to have a flu vaccine every year because the flu virus is very variable and changes over time.
Each year there are different strains around, and a new vaccine has to be prepared to deal with them.
Vaccination from previous years is not likely to protect against current strains of flu.”