Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch. Flu will often get better on its own, but it can make some people seriously ill. It's important to get the flu vaccine if you are advised to.
The flu and the flu vaccine
Flu isn't just a cold, it can be a really serious illness. The flu jab can help protect people of all ages and is perfectly safe. The virus changes every year so it's important to get a jab each year. People who are older, pregnant and with health conditions are among those recommended to get the vaccine.
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to:
- People aged over 50 (including those who will be 50 by 31 March 2022)
- People who have certain health conditions. View full list of conditions
- Pregnant women
- People in long-stay residential care
- Carers, e.g. receive a carer’s allowance or care for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if they get sick
- People who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
- Frontline health and social care workers
- Young children
Flu can be really serious, especially for children with medical conditions like asthma, heart disease and diabetes. The nasal spray vaccination for children, which is easy to have and painless, helps to protect against flu and has an excellent safety record. Protecting your child can stop flu spreading to other children and the family, especially babies and older people, who may be at higher risk from flu.
It is recommended that the flu vaccine be given to:
- All 2 and 3 years old children (the vaccine is given at your general practice).
- All primary school children (reception to year 6)*
- All year 7 to year 11 in secondary school*
*The vaccine will be provided at school through the School-Aged Immunisation Team.
Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust’s Immunisations Team deliver the school-aged immunisations programme in the London Borough of Richmond.
For more information visit the Trust’s immunisations page and read the latest NHS guidance on flu vaccinations for children.
The nasal spray vaccine contains small traces of pork gelatine. If this is not suitable, speak to your child's nurse or doctor about your options. Your child may be able to have an injected vaccine instead.
Home-schooled children should be invited for vaccination by the local healthcare team. If you do not hear from them, ask your child's GP where they should go for vaccination.
Even if you had a flu jab last winter you will need another one this year as the vaccine is changed annually to fight the latest strains of flu.
Read the 2021/22 Flu Vaccination Guidelines. This has full details on who should have the jab and why.
For advice and information about the flu vaccination, speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist.
You can get the vaccine from:
- Your GP
- A local pharmacy
- The School-Aged Immunisation Team (for children in reception class and school years 1 to 11)
If you are pregnant Speak to your midwife when you go for your 12 week or 20 week check.
The jab will help protect you and your family from flu.
Keeping warm this winter
Help protect yourself as well by finding out how best to prepare for winter. Read the wrap up warm this winter leaflet (pdf, 1.2 MB) for helpful tips and find out about heating grants to help keep you and your family warm.
Updated: 03 December 2021