The Flu Vaccine is a very important. Each year our hospitals see an increase of patients due to those suffering from flu. People who develop flu are at risk of further complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
We are fortunate in the West Midlands that most people recognise the importance of the Flu Vaccine. However, there is still room for improvement.
Who is eligible?
Due to Covid-19, the Government has increased the number of people who can access the vaccine for free. The following groups are eligible for a free vaccine:
- all those aged two to eleven (but not twelve years or older) on 31 August 2020
- people aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
- all pregnant women (including those who become pregnant during flu season)
- people aged 65 years and over (including those becoming 65 years by 31 March 2021)
- people living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities
- household contacts of those on the NHS shielded patient list and immunocompromised individuals
- all frontline health and social care workers
- individuals between 50 and 64 years may be offered flu vaccine under the NHS flu vaccination programme following prioritisation of other eligible groups and subject to vaccine supply
The extension of the seasonal flu vaccination programme aims to lower the public health impact of flu by:
- providing direct protection thus preventing a large number of cases of flu infection
- providing indirect protection by lowering flu transmission:
- to other children
- to adults
- to those in the clinical risk groups of any age
Reducing flu transmission in the community averts many cases of severe flu and flu-related deaths in older adults and people with clinical risk factors.
Types of vaccination
There are two main types of vaccine available:
- inactivated – given by injection
- live attenuated – given by nasal application
None of the flu vaccines can cause clinical influenza in those that can be vaccinated.