Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.
Flu can be unpleasant, but if you're otherwise healthy, it'll usually clear up on its own within a week.
But flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:
- 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 in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it's recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is routinely given on the NHS to:
- adults 65 and over
- people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
- pregnant women
- children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2019
- children in primary school
- frontline health or social care workers
Which type of flu vaccine should I have?
There are several types of flu vaccine.
You'll be offered the one that's most effective for your age:
- children aged 2 to 17 in an eligible group are offered a live attenuated quadrivalent vaccine (LAIV), given as a nasal spray
- adults aged 18 to 64 who are either pregnant, or at increased risk from flu because of a long-term health condition, are offered a quadrivalent injected vaccine – the vaccine offered will have been grown either in eggs or cells (QIVe or QIVc), which are considered to be equally suitable
- adults aged 65 and over will be offered either an adjuvanted trivalent injected vaccine grown in eggs (aTIV) or a cell-grown quadrivalent injected vaccine (QIVc) – both vaccines are considered to be equally suitable.
If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years old and is in a high-risk group for flu, they'll be offered an injected flu vaccine as the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2.