Flu vaccination by injection, commonly known as the 'flu jab' is available every year on the NHS to protect adults (and some children) at risk of flu and its complications.
Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.
The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk. This is to help protect them against catching flu and developing serious complications.
You should have the flu vaccine if you:
Frontline health and social care workers are also eligible to receive the flu vaccine. It is your employer's responsibility to arrange and pay for this vaccine.
The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge if you are aged 65 and over.
The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge for:
Children aged between 6 months and 2 years who are eligible for the flu vaccine will receive an injected flu vaccine.
Children eligible for the flu vaccine aged between 2 and 17 will usually have the flu vaccine nasal spray.
If you're pregnant, you're advised to have the injectable flu vaccine, regardless of the stage of pregnancy you've reached.
That's because there's strong evidence to suggest pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they get flu.
The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to anyone with a serious long-term health condition, including:
This list of conditions isn't definitive. It's always an issue of clinical judgement.
Your GP can assess you to take into account the risk of flu making any underlying illness you may have worse, as well as your risk of serious illness from flu itself.
The vaccine should always be offered in such cases, even if you are not technically in one of the risk groups above.
If you live with someone who has a weakened immune system, you may also be advised to have a flu vaccine. Speak to your GP or pharmacist about this.
Outbreaks of flu can occur in health and social care settings, and, because flu is so contagious, staff, patients and residents are all at risk of infection.
If you're a frontline health and social care worker, you're eligible for an NHS flu vaccine.
It is your employer's responsibility to arrange vaccination for you. Find out what arrangements have been made at your workplace for providing flu vaccination.
If you are an NHS-employed frontline healthcare worker, the NHS will pay for your vaccination.
You may be able to have the flu vaccine at your GP surgery or local pharmacy offering the service if your employer does not offer a flu vaccination programme and you're a frontline health or social care worker employed by a:
The flu vaccine will help protect you, your colleagues and the patients and residents you care for.