Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter. For some people, flu can lead to much more serious illnesses. The best way to protect yourself is to get the free seasonal flu vaccine if it is offered to you.
Flu vaccine – who gets it?
There are a number of groups who are at greater risk from the effects of flu. If you are in one of the groups listed below, you should get the vaccine:
- pregnant women
- anyone aged 65 or over, even if you feel fit and healthy
- children who have previously been admitted to hospital with a chest infection
- children attending schools for children with severe learning difficulties
- anyone living in a residential or nursing home
- main carers for elderly or disabled people – you should seek advice from your GP surgery as to whether you should be vaccinated so you can continue to look after the person you care for. You should also ensure that they are vaccinated (if recommended)
Children and adults who have any of the following medical conditions:
- a chronic chest condition such as asthma
- a chronic heart condition
- chronic liver disease
- chronic kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment such as steroids or cancer therapy
- a chronic neurological condition such as stroke, multiple sclerosis or a condition that affects your nervous system such as cerebral palsy
- any other serious medical condition – check with your doctor if you are unsure
Flu vaccine - should you have it?
Each year the flu vaccine protects against the three most common strains of flu.
You are more at risk from the complications of flu if you fall into any of the categories listed above. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital or even death. Flu vaccine will help to protect you against getting flu in the first place.
You should get the vaccine even if you got it last year and even if you feel fit and healthy now.
Flu vaccine in pregnancy
It is especially important for pregnant women to get the flu vaccine, regardless of their stage of pregnancy. Flu infection during pregnancy can be extremely harmful for both mother and baby.
The flu vaccine is very safe for both pregnant women and their babies. If you are pregnant, you should get the vaccine as soon as possible – the sooner you get the vaccine, the sooner you and your baby will be protected from flu.
How the flu vaccine works
Flu vaccine is made from small parts of the flu virus. Around a week after you get the vaccine, your body makes antibodies to the vaccine viruses. These antibodies help to protect you against flu.
The flu vaccine can not give you flu.
Translations of the flu vaccination information leaflet can be downloaded from the links below:
- Flu vaccination information leaflet - Complex Chinese (PDF 386KB))
- Flu vaccination information leaflet- Irish (PDF 66KB)
- Flu vaccination information leaflet - Latvian (PDF 102KB)
- Flu vaccination information leaflet - Lithuanian (PDF 103KB)
- Flu vaccination information leaflet - Polish (PDF 106KB)
- Flu vaccination information leaflet - Portuguese (PDF 59KB)
- Flu vaccination information leaflet - Russian (PDF 125KB)
- Flu vaccination information leaflet - Simplified Chinese (289 KB)
- Flu vaccination information leaflet - Slovak (PDF 106KB)
- Flu vaccination information leaflet - Tetum (PDF 106KB)
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