About Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine, also known as the influenza vaccine, is a vaccine that helps protect against the influenza virus, commonly known as the flu. Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects the respiratory system. It can cause a range of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, and in severe cases, it can lead to hospitalization or even death.

The flu virus undergoes frequent changes, leading to the emergence of new strains each year. This is why a new flu vaccine is developed and administered annually to provide protection against the most prevalent and potentially dangerous strains of the virus for that particular flu season. The flu vaccine is usually available before the flu season begins, which typically occurs in the fall and winter. It’s best to get vaccinated early in the season to allow your body enough time to build immunity before you might be exposed to the virus.

Who should consider having a flu vaccination?

  • aged 65 years or over
  • living in a residential or nursing home
  • the main carer of an older or disabled person
  • a household contact of someone on the NHS Shielded Patient List
  • a frontline health or social care worker
  • pregnant (see the next section)
  • children of a certain age (see page 7–8)

How long will I be protected for?

The vaccine should provide protection throughout the current flu season.

What are the side effects?

Most people who get Flu vaccine experience no side effects at all. Some people report having very mild side effects. The most common side effects of Flu vaccine include:

  • Pain, redness or swelling in the arm where the shot was given
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • headache, tiredness and some loss of appetite