Flu vaccination 2021-22
The NHS is delivering a safe and effective annual flu vaccination programme this autumn as it’s the best protection against flu and its complications.
Flu and COVID-19 can make some people seriously ill and it’s more important than ever to get the flu vaccine if you're eligible to, particularly as it is expected that this will be the first winter when COVID-19 will co-circulate alongside flu (the seasonal influenza virus).
In this Winter Vaccines Explained video, Dr Amir Khan, Dr Dawn Harper and Dr Karan Ranj explain why it is more important than ever for people to get their flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster as soon as possible this autumn as both viruses have the potential to cause serious illness and hospitalisation. Those eligible for the free flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster jab are being urged to book their appointments as soon as possible in a new campaign aiming to help people give themselves and their loved ones essential protection this winter. This comes as new research suggests that adults in England are severely underestimating the combined threat of COVID-19 and flu this winter.
Boost your immunity this winter animation
To help raise awareness of those eligible for the flu vaccination this year and how it offers vital protection, please watch the animation below.
Discover detailed information, including the latest Covid-19 FAQs, on the Covid-19 vaccination programme page.
The CCG Covid-19 Vaccination Enquiry service only manages enquires about the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, please do not contact them about the flu vaccination. You'll find lots of useful flu vaccine resources and FAQs on this page and on NHS.UK.
Flu vaccine resources and FAQs (frequently asked questions)
Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours. To reduce the risk of spreading flu wash your hands often with warm water and soap, use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze and bin used tissues as quickly as possible. In addition to the resources and FAQs on this page, check NHS.UK for detailed information about flu.
In the following section, you will find information on:
- Who can get a flu vaccine?
- Can I have a flu vaccine and a Covid-19 vaccine?
- When should you get your flu vaccine?
- Where and how can I get my free flu vaccine?
- Who should not have the flu vaccine?
- Does the flu vaccine work and are there any side effects?
- General questions about flu and the flu vaccine
- The flu vaccine and pregnancy
- The flu vaccine - information for people with learning disabilities
- The flu vaccine and your child
- Long term health conditions and the flu vaccine
Who can get a flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is free for older people, pregnant women, most children and those with certain underlying medical conditions.
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Those eligible for the free flu vaccination on the NHS this year (2021 to 2022) are:
- all children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021. This includes:
- children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2021 – born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2019
- all primary school children (reception to year 6)
- all year 7 to year 11 children in secondary school
- those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups. This includes:
- children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions
- pregnant women
- those aged 50 years and over
- those in long-stay residential care homes
- carers (paid and unpaid)
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- frontline health and social care staff employed by:
- a registered residential care or nursing home
- registered domiciliary care provider
- a voluntary managed hospice provider
- Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants.
If you are a carer looking after someone who is elderly or disabled, you can ask for a flu jab at your GP practice or take a Surrey Carers’ Flu Jab Voucher to your nearest participating community pharmacy. The vouchers provide the assurance that you are known to carers services here in Surrey and are therefore entitled to a free vaccination.
Find out more about the Surrey Carers’ Flu Voucher at Action for Carers Surrey: www.actionforcarers.org.uk/flu
Yes of course! If you would like to have a flu vaccine you can pay to have one at your local pharmacy.
Can I have a flu vaccine and a Covid-19 vaccine?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine does not protect you from the flu, and vice versa. As you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both.
Yes, if you are eligible to receive both vaccines you may therefore be offered both jabs in the same appointment. It’s safe to have them at the same time, as long as your Covid booster is six months after your last dose However, it is important that you do not delay receiving either vaccine if you’re unable to get them at the same time. It is vital that you are fully protected as soon as possible.
Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against Covid-19, however, it can help keep you safe from getting the flu, which in turn will help you stay healthy and well.
If you’ve had COVID-19, it’s still safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A new continuous cough
- A high temperature
- A loss of taste and/or smell
If you have any of these symptoms, then do not attend your flu vaccination appointment. This can be rescheduled.
If you have these symptoms you need to self-isolate and book in for a coronavirus test. You can do this by calling 119 or visiting NHS.uk
You can also order a home-testing kit.
When should you get your flu vaccine?
The vaccine is available from September.
The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, before flu starts circulating. But even if it's later, it's always worth getting vaccinated.
Yes. The viruses that cause flu can change every year, which means the flu (and the vaccine) this year may be different from last year.
It’s still important to get your flu vaccine even if you have had flu this autumn. It can help protect you from getting it again.
If you're eligible for a free flu vaccination, you can have it at:
- your GP surgery
- a local pharmacy offering the service
- your midwifery service if they offer it for pregnant women
- at school (for school age children).
It is best to have the flu vaccination in the autumn or early winter before any outbreaks of flu. Remember that you need it every year, so don’t assume you are protected because you had one last year.
- All primary school aged children and those Year 7 to 11 in secondary school will be offered their flu vaccination in school.
- Children aged 6 months to 2 years with a long-term condition will receive their flu vaccination at their GP surgery.
- Those from reception to Year 11, with a long-term condition, will be offered the flu vaccine either at school or at their GP surgery.
- For pregnant women, in some areas, midwives can give the flu vaccine at the antenatal clinic, in others, you will need an appointment at a GP surgery.
For details of how the free flu vaccine is being offered by GP practices in Surrey Heartlands, please see below.
North West Surrey
If you are a patient at one of the following practices, please wait to be contacted by your practice regarding when you can book your flu vaccine:
- Staines Health Group
- Yellow Practice
Patients at all other practices can call the NWS flu booking line on 0300 561 1715. If you eligible for a Covid booster vaccine, you will be offered a flu vaccine at the same time as your Covid booster.
If you are a patient at one of the following practices, please wait to be contacted by your practice:
- Hawthorns Surgery
- Holmhurst Medical Centre
- Lingfield Surgery
- Oxted Health Centre
- Woodlands Road Medical Centre
Patients at all other practices in East Surrey, please follow information on this link.
Surrey Downs and Guildford & Waverley
For all patients in Surrey Downs or Guildford and Waverley, the flu vaccination programme is being coordinated by your GP practice. Please wait to be contacted by your practice.
Please also keep checking your GP practice websites for further updates.
Find a pharmacy that offers the NHS flu vaccine
If you wish to have your flu jab sooner please do contact a pharmacy near you who may be able to assist. Visit the NHS website to find a pharmacy offering the NHS flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine is also available privately in pharmacies and some supermarkets to adults who are not eligible for an NHS jab.
Who should not have the flu vaccine?
Most adults can have the flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. This is because some flu vaccines are made using eggs.
Ask a GP or pharmacist for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.
If you're ill with a high temperature, it's best to wait until you're better before having the flu vaccine.
Does the flu vaccine work and are there any side effects?
The most common side effects from the flu vaccine can be a slight temperature or your arm may feel a little sore where you had the injection. Other side effects are rare.
No. The flu vaccine that is given to adults is made from dead flu virus and cannot cause the infection. The flu vaccine that will be given to most children is a live vaccine, but the viruses in it have been weakened so they can not cause flu. You may get some side effects after the vaccination but these are quite mild like a slightly raised temperature or aching muscles for a couple of days or an ache in the arm where the injection was given. Other reactions are very rare.
It takes between 10 and 14 days for your immune system to respond fully after you have had the flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine will provide protection for you for the upcoming flu season. People eligible for flu vaccination should have the vaccine each year.
No unfortunately when you have flu, antibiotics will not help you feel better.
Yes, it's fine to have the flu vaccine while you're taking a course of antibiotics, provided you're not ill with a high temperature.
General questions about flu and the flu vaccine
The vaccine provides the best available protection against flu. It is not 100% effective but it will protect a significant number of people and reduce the severity of flu if you get it. It could also help your relatives or carers because you will not be passing the disease to them.
Yes, it is likely that you will need to have a mask on when you have your flu vaccine. Your GP practice will be able to advise when you book.
The flu vaccine and pregnancy
The Flu, your pregnancy and you leaflet is a helpful guide to what you need to know and do to protect yourself and your baby. Pregnant women are at increased risk of getting serious complications from flu, compared with other healthy adults. Flu can also be serious for new-born babies, who can catch the infection from their mothers. This leaflet describes how having the flu vaccination during pregnancy can help protect you and your baby against this infection.
- The flu jab will help protect both you and your baby.
- It's safe to have the flu vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from conception onwards.
- Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.
- Pregnancy alters how the body handles infections such as flu.
- Flu infection increases the chances of pregnant women and their babies needing intensive care.
- If you have flu while you're pregnant, it could cause your baby to be born prematurely or have a low birthweight and may even lead to stillbirth or death.
- The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, before flu starts circulating.
- If you've missed this time, you can have the flu vaccine later in the winter although it's best to get it earlier. Do not worry if you find that you're pregnant later in the flu season – you can have the vaccine then if you have not already had it.
Helen, a Surrey mum of two, shares why she’ll be having her flu jab again this autumn:
“As I have in other years, including when pregnant, I’ll be getting my flu jab this year. My seven year-old son Ioan will be having his flu jab at school this autumn and my husband will be having his through work so we can help to keep ourselves and baby Lowri safe. We all want to do our bit to minimise the spread of the disease and lessen the impact if we get it”.
The flu vaccine - information for people with learning disabilities
Discover flu vaccination for children: leaflets and posters for parents and carers of preschool and primary school-aged children and young people in years 7 to 11. A Braille version of this leaflet is available to order and a British Sign Language BSL preschool and primary video with subtitles is available to download.
The flu vaccine and your child
- Children aged 2 and 3 (DOB range 01/09/2017-31/08/2019) will be given the vaccination at their GP surgery, usually by the practice nurse.
- Children who are 4 years old are also eligible for flu vaccination provided they were 3 on 31 August 2021. These children should be offered the vaccination at their GP surgery.
- All school aged children will be offered it in school unless they have an underlying health condition. An alternative flu vaccine, in the form of an injection, will again be available this year for children whose parents decline the flu nasal spray due to its porcine gelatine content.
The Children and Family Health Surrey Immunisation team is responsible for the planning and delivery of the school-age immunisation programmes in Surrey. The vaccination programmes are primarily carried out in schools, although they also offer clinics in other community settings for home-educated children and other children depending on their individual needs.
The team is made up of registered nurses and administrators. They cover all schools in Surrey, as well as any children who are home educated.
Find contact details for your local immunisation team on the Children and Family Health Surrey Immunisations webpage.
Find a series of videos produced by parents and healthcare professionals regarding the flu vaccination for children, you can watch them below.
Long term health conditions and the flu vaccine
If you’re in an at risk group you are eligible for a free flu vaccine.
Watch this video below featuring GP Dr Zaid Hirmiz talking about how those under 65 with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD are at a higher risk of getting complications from flu and how the free flu vaccination helps reduce risk.