Flu is an unpredictable virus that can be unpleasant, but if you're otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own in about a week.
It can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups, including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.
Certain people are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. These people are advised to have a flu vaccine each year.
A flu vaccine is available free on the NHS for:
- anyone aged 65 and over
- pregnant women
- children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
- children and adults with weakened immune systems
- anyone living in a residential or nursing home
- anyone who is the main carer of an older or disabled person
- frontline health or social care worketings
Despite popular belief, the flu vaccine cannot give you flu as it doesn’t contain the active virus needed to do this. The flu vaccine is available from October each year. If you think you need it, talk to your GP or practice nurse.
Flu vaccinations for those aged 50 to 64
You may have heard or seen that the flu vaccination will now be made available to a wider cohort of patients. This includes, 50-64 year olds (with or without a pre-existing condition) and people in the COVID-19 shielding category and their households.
Across Basildon and Brentwood, GP practices and networks are working together to make arrangements to meet the new demand, and are awaiting guidance on new national vaccine supply. In the meantime, practices will be using their pre-ordered vaccine stock to vaccinate people who were in the previous eligible categories.
For more information on the winter flu vaccine please visit nhs.uk.