2020 has been quite a year with lots of changes in the way we work and live. So, what is different this year with the flu jab?
By all accounts it does seem as though the ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 is upon us and with predictions of cases rising over the winter months, it is more important than ever to have your flu jab.
The flu jab will not protect you against COVID, but it will lower your risk of developing flu and serious complications. Flu can lead to hospital admissions and secondary complications. It can weaken your immune system making you more susceptible to a more severe case of COVID-19 infection.
In addition, preventing a rise in cases of flu can help protect the NHS during the winter months.
Who is eligible for the Flu vaccine on the NHS free of charge?
- Adults 65 and over
- Anyone with an underlying condition such as COPD, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, spleen problems (like sickle cell), liver disease or a chronic neurological disease like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
- Anyone with a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medication such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- Anyone who receives a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- Anyone who has a learning disability and are on their GP learning disability register.
- Pregnant women
- People living with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
- Children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2020
- Children in primary school
- Children in year 7 (secondary school)
- Frontline health or social care workers
These categories will be prioritised in the first round of flu vaccines and are eligible to receive the vaccine free of charge.
Why are there different types of flu vaccines and what is the difference?
The quadrivalent vaccine (designed to protect against four different flu viruses, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses) contains 4 strains of the flu virus. This particular flu vaccine is offered to patients under the age of 65. This vaccine comes in a strain which has egg product in it and one which doesn’t.
The nasal flu vaccine is also a quadrivalent vaccine and is offered to children from the age of 2-17 years of age. A lot of these are offered in schools as part of a national immunisation programme.
The trivalent vaccine has 3 strains of the flu virus and is offered to the over 65s. This flu vaccine is thought to boost the immune response to fight flu.
It is not known why older adults’ immune systems don’t respond so well to the flu vaccines, therefore it is even more important for children and healthcare workers to get vaccinated to decrease the spread of the flu virus.
As a member of the Linbury practice, you will be offered a flu vaccine as part of your membership.
Please give us a call if you would like more information about our membership – 0333 050 7338.