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Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some.

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.

Find out more about the flu and the flu vaccine.

Who should have the vaccine

Those who are recommended to have the flu vaccine include:

  • Everyone aged 65 and over
  • People aged 50 to 64 (from 1 December)
  • Everyone under 65 years of age who has a medical condition (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or a chronic neurological disease), including children and babies over six months of age. View full list of conditions
  • All pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
  • Everyone living in a residential or nursing home
  • Everyone who receives a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick.
  • Household contacts of anyone who is immunocompromised
  • Everyone who lives with someone who's at high risk from coronavirus. Find out who is at risk from coronavirus
  • All frontline health and social care workers 
  • Young children 

The flu vaccine for 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 grandparents, who may be at higher risk from flu.

It is recommended that the flu vaccine be given to:

  • All two and three year old children (the vaccine is given at your general practice).
  • All children in reception class and school years 1 to 7 (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.

Getting the jab

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 2020/21 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:

The jab will help protect you and your family from flu.

Please note that while there is enough flu vaccine for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated this winter season, due to staggered vaccine deliveries and increased demand this year, some people may not be able to get vaccinated straight away To avoid unnecessary wait, ensure you contact your GP/local pharmacist first to check the vaccine availability and book your appointment.

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: 27 July 2021