The Flu Jab
In October every year we offer a completely free, flu vaccination to all our at-risk patients and those over 65 years of age. it is strongly recommended for high-risk patients e.g. the elderly, those with heart or chest disease, diabetes or asthma.
Flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus that can cause unpleasant illness in children and severe illness and death among at-risk groups, including older people, pregnant women and those with an underlying medical health condition.
Studies have shown that the flu vaccine will help prevent you getting the flu. It won’t stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary, so it’s not a 100% guarantee that you’ll be flu-free, but if you do get flu after vaccination it’s likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been.
These are offered FREE in the surgery for those who are 65 years of age or over, are pregnant, a carer or suffer from one of the following chronic medical conditions:
- Chronic heart disease
- Chronic respiratory disease such as asthma requiring regular inhaled steroids, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Chronic neurological disease such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease or learning disability
- Immunosuppression due to diseases such as HIV/AIDS or treatment such as cancer treatment
- Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen
- Morbidly obese adults – defined as those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or above. To calculate your BMI please use this link http://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/LiveWell/BMICalculator/
Annual Childhood Flu Nasal Spray Vaccination
All children who were aged 2 or 3 years on the 1st September 2015 to the 31st August 2017 are entitled to receive a free flu vaccine this year as these age groups have been identified to be at greater risk of the complications of flu.
You are therefore invited to make an appointment to attend one of our special clinics for the childhood flu vaccine which is given as a nasal spray, a fine mist that is sprayed up the nose. Flu vaccines should be given in the early autumn before flu starts to spread to get the best protection.
We advise that the nasal spray should not be administered if your child has been prescribed oral steroids in the last 14 days. Or if your child is ‘actively wheezing’ or has had rescue treatment in the previous 72 hours.
It may also be important to note the nasal spray contains ‘Porcine Gelatine’.
It should not be given to children whom are severely immuno-compromised; i.e have undertaken a bone marrow transplant.
If you are unable to bring your child, please ensure that the person bringing your child has a letter of consent from parents/ guardians for the flu vaccine to be administered.
Children’s Flu Programme
All primary school aged children will be offered the flu vaccine through the school nursing service. This includes children from Reception to Year 6. Your child’s school will contact you to provide you with more information and to let you know when the clinics are scheduled.
The pre-school flu programme for 2 and 3 year olds will be offered from the surgery as soon as the stock is received.
The children’s flu vaccine is in the form of a single spray squirted up each nostril. It is quick and painless and is absorbed very quickly. It will still work even if, after the vaccination, your child develops a runny nose, sneezes or blows their nose.
Read more about the Childhood Flu Vaccination Eligibility
If you care for someone who is elderly or disabled, or someone whose health and/or welfare may be at risk if you fall ill, speak to the surgery about having a flu vaccine. Even if you don’t live with the person that you care for, or receive money for caring for them, you may still be eligibe for a free vaccine.
Read more about the flu vaccine for carers on the Carers UK website.
NB: This does not include people whose occupation involves caring for others, as this should be provided via your employer.
I’m not sure about the evidence
It’s true that, compared with other vaccines for other diseases, the flu vaccine is not as effective. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. A recent meta-analysis found the flu jab protects, on average, 59% of recipients from developing flu. More research is being done to find a better vaccine for flu, but for now the vaccine is the best available way to protect yourself and others.
It protects around 6 in 10 people.
I react badly to the flu jab
It’s better than getting flu. The flu vaccine cannot give you flu. However, as it works by stimulating your body’s immune system you may have some mild flu-like symptoms for a day or two afterwards. This will be brief and you cannot pass these symptoms on. Flu itself can leave you completely washed out and unable to get out of bed for day
To find out more see the links below: