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Do you need a flu vaccination?

For most people, flu is unpleasant but not always serious. You will usually recover within a week.

However, certain people are at greater risk of developing serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. These conditions may require hospital treatment. The flu vaccine is offered free to people who are at risk, to protect them from catching flu and developing serious complications. It is recommended that you have a flu jab if you:

Flu Risk Groups
  • are over 65 years old
  • are pregnant: This is because there is good evidence that pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they get flu, particularly from the H1N1 strain.
  • have a serious medical condition: This includes chronic respiratory disease (such as asthma, COPD or bronchitis), chronic heart disease (such as heart failure), chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease (such as hepatitis), chronic neurological (such as stroke or TIA), diabetes or a weakened immune system due to conditions such as HIV or treatments that suppress the immune system (such as chemotherapy).
  • are living in a long-stay residential care home/facility
  • are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may at risk if you fall ill
If you are the parent of a child who is over six months old and has a long-term condition on the list above, speak to your GP about the flu vaccine. Your child's condition may get worse if they catch flu.


Who should not have the flu vaccination?

You should not have the flu vaccine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a flu vaccine or one of its ingredients. This happens very rarely. If you are ill with a fever, do not have your flu jab until you have recovered.

This risk group is periodically updated by the NHS:

Next review due: 13/09/2013