GETTING the flu jab is important to protect yourself and those around you, especially for children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
It might sound like a harmless bug, but a bout of flu can lead to serious complications and in some cases even death. Here's how to book and where to go.
What is the flu jab and is it free?
More than 35 million Brits will be offered a flu jab this winter amid fears of a resurgence of the deadly bug.
The free vaccine programme is set to be expanded to all over-50s and secondary school children up to Year 11 in a bid to tackle a possible wave of infections.
It comes as the NHS seeks to prevent a large flu wave coinciding with its battle against Covid, which experts fear could spike again in the colder months.
Flu jabs will be available from September for children aged two and three on August 31, all primary school children, people aged 50 and over, pregnant women, unpaid carers, and frontline health and adult social care staff.
The enlarged drive will build on last year's expanded flu programme the Department of Health and Social Care said, which saw a record 19 million jabs being administered.
The NHS offers a free flu jab to those most at risk of getting the virus so if you qualify then you can get it free anywhere that offers it.
This can be at your doctor's surgery as well as supermarket pharmacies like Asda and high street favourites like Boots.
If you're not in the eligible groups entitled to a free vaccination listed below, you can pay for a flu jab at certain stores.
Am I eligible for a free flu jab?
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR THE FLU JAB?
The jab will be freely available to:
* All children aged two and three on 31 August 2021
* All children in primary and all children in school Years 7 to 11 in secondary school
* Those aged six months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
* Pregnant women
* Those aged 50 years and over
* Unpaid carers
* Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
* Frontline health and adult social care staff
How much does it cost and where can I get it?
You can book a Boots flu jab on their website. In 2020 the cost has risen to £14.99.
Appointments for children aged 10-15 can only be booked in store.
The NHS service is free for those who are eligible.
The website says the cost of a single dose ranges from free to £13.99.
Check the website for more details and availability.
Lloyds offers free jabs for those who are eligible.
Otherwise a private vaccine will cost £14.99 and you can make an appointment online.
You can register interest on when vaccinations will be available on their website.
Asda is offering the flu jab for free and privately.
The cost in 2021 is £8.
Visit the supermarket's website for more details.
The flu jab is offered for free for those who are eligible, otherwise it costs £8.
The supermarket chain also offers the flu jab.
It costs £9 and you can book online here.
Does the flu jab have side effects?
Unfortunately, after having the flu vaccine you may get mild fever and slight muscle aches over the next few days.
You may also experience flu-like symptoms – but you wouldn't actually catch the flu virus once you have had the vaccine.
Common side effects include:
- a runny or blocked nose
- general tiredness
- loss of appetite
To avoid muscle ache, docs recommend moving regularly, especially the arm in which you received the jab.
But, according to the NHS, serious side effects are "uncommon".
In the event of a severe allergic reaction staff who give the vaccinations will administer adrenaline, to calm its effect.
Do children have the flu jab at school?
Yes, young kids in school years one to three are likely to receive their vaccine at school.
Children aged two and three years will be given the vaccine at their general practice – usually by the practice nurse.
The children's flu vaccine is slightly different to the adult version.
Young kids are offered a yearly nasal spray and many are eligible to receive this for free – including those aged two or three and those in reception, years one, two, three and four.
Children aged between two and 17 with long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, are at higher risk from flu – so it's especially important that they are vaccinated with the annual flu nasal spray instead of the annual flu jab, which they were previously given.
The nasal spray flu vaccine has a few side effects – this usually includes getting a runny nose after vaccination for a few days.
The flu vaccine for children has a good safety record and, in the UK, millions of children have been vaccinated safely and successfully.
Can I get the flu vaccine if I've got a cold?
According to the NHS website it's fine to get the flu jab – as long as you don't have a fever.
If you are unwell with a fever it's best to delay until you feel better, they say.
The NHS also warns that those with an egg allergy have an increased chance of having an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine.
Egg-free and low egg content vaccines are available though, so be sure to ask your GP if you are worried about it.
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