Why get a flu vaccine
With COVID-19 still in circulation, it's more important than ever to get vaccinated against the flu. People vulnerable to flu are also at risk of complications from COVID-19.
A high uptake of the flu vaccine will help:
- improve the general respiratory health of all islanders
- reduce the pressure on the health service
- and allow the better delivery of care for all islanders
The flu vaccine won’t protect you from COVID-19, but it will help protect you against flu.
The flu vaccine is free for clinical risk groups
For some groups of people, catching flu can be serious. That's why, people in the following risk groups are recommended to have the flu vaccine every year. The flu vaccine is offered free of charge to people considered at risk:
- infants 6 months to 2 years of age in a clinical risk group
- all children aged 2, 3 and 4 years
- school aged children reception up to year 11
- 16 to 50 years in clinical risk group
- people aged 50 and over
- pregnant women
- households of those on the shielded patient list or of immunocompromised individuals
- home carers
- care home and domiciliary staff
- frontline health and community services staff
People in these groups are more likely to have a bad case of flu or to develop a serious complication (such as pneumonia) and may need a stay in hospital.
Later in the year, the flu vaccine will be offered free to 50 to 64 year olds, following the prioritisation of other eligible groups and subject to vaccine supply.
When it's available
The flu vaccine is available annually. The best time to have the flu vaccine is before the start of the flu season. It’s important to be patient with the GPs, nurses and pharmacists who are administering the vaccine. Don't jump the queue, you will be seen.
We have enough stock of the flu vaccine for all at risk groups.
Types of flu vaccine available
All flu vaccines are designed to protect against the strains of flu expected to be circulating in the following winter.
Nasal vaccine for children
For children aged 2 years old and onwards the nasal flu vaccine is the most effective against the flu.
The nasal flu vaccine can't be given to children under two years. For children aged 6 months up to 2 years there is only the injected flu vaccine available.
There is no flu vaccine for children under six months of age. This is why all pregnant women should have the flu vaccine to protect themselves and their baby during their first few months of life.
Injection for adults
For adults the flu vaccine is given as an injection into the upper arm (the nasal flu vaccine cannot be used as it is not licensed for use in adults).
The brand of flu injection given to adults may vary depending on a person's age. This is because some flu vaccines are designed to be effective for specific age groups.
The doctor, nurse or pharmacist may ask you your age to ensure they use the most effective vaccine for your age group. Tell them if you are aged 65 or over.
Children recommended to have the flu vaccine
Children who have a long-term medical condition aged 6 months up to 2 years
|Pre-school children(2, 3 and 4 year olds)||Nasal vaccine is offered at nursery settings and GP surgeries during October and November. Check with your nursery when the nasal vaccinations will be given in nursery||Free|
|School age children in Reception and years one to 11||Nasal vaccine will be offered in schools during October and November||Free|
|Young people who have a long term medical condition in the age range of year groups 12 and 13||GP surgery or pharmacy||Free|
GP's will be offering the nasal vaccine on a first come first served basis for those aged 2, 3 and 4 years. We recommend you take up the offer of vaccination while stocks are available. You will not be charged for the visit.
Annual nasal flu vaccine for children
Adults recommended to have the flu vaccine
|Pregnant women||Pharmacy or GP surgery||Free|
|Aged 65 or over (or will reach age 65 by 31 March in the following year) ||Pharmacy or GP surgery
Flu vaccine can be given at the same time as pneumococcal (at age 65) or shingles vaccine (at age 70).
|Aged 16 to 65 with a long-term medical condition||Pharmacy or GP surgery||Free|
|For 2020/21 all other individuals between 50 to 64 years, following prioritisation of the above mentioned groups and subject to vaccine supply||Pharmacy or GP surgery||Free|
Annual flu vaccine for pregnant women
Annual Flu vaccine: adults with long-term medical conditions
Flu on NHS Choices website
If you're not in a clinical risk group
If you're not in one of the clinical risk groups, you can still have the flu vaccine privately. Ask your GP surgery or local pharmacy how much this will cost you.
Symptoms of flu
Some of the main symptoms of flu include:
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- a dry, chesty cough
- general aches and pains
- a headache
- tiredness and weakness
Most people will feel better within a week.
Ring your GP for advice if you think you have flu, particularly if you're pregnant or have a long-term medical condition.
Difference between flu symptoms and COVID-19
A high uptake of the flu vaccine will help to reduce confusion over symptoms relating to the flu virus and COVID-19. There is some overlap between the symptoms of flu and COVID, so vaccination is important.
Flu symptoms usually tend to come on suddenly whereas COVID symptoms usually come on more slowly.
If you're unsure about whether you have COVID or not, self-isolate and contact the helpline on freephone
0800 735 5566 to get tested.
Find out more about coronavirus
NHS choices on the NHS website
How to reduce your risk of catching flu
Flu is very infectious and the virus can live on hands and hard surfaces for up to 24 hours. So it's important to keep surfaces and frequently touched objects clean. Examples of these are door handles, children’s toys, your keyboard and remote controls.
This is why it's important to “Catch it, Bin it, Kill it”:
- “Catch” any sneezes in a tissue
- “Bin” any tissues immediately
- “Kill” the virus by washing your hands with soap and warm water
Avoid contact with sick people and wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Handwashing advice poster for print
If you're unwell, look after yourself, drink plenty of fluids and stay at home so you don’t spread flu to others.
The vaccine remains the best defence we have to protect against the spread of flu.