Get the flu vaccination, stay well and protect the NHS

It may be summer in the capital, but the NHS is already starting to plan for winter.

Along with seasonal bugs, slips and falls, and the flu, London’s NHS may also be treating patients with Covid-19 this winter. Hospitals and emergency services are likely to be busier than in previous years.

We are asking everyone who is at risk of being affected by the flu to get vaccinated this autumn. By having the flu vaccination, you will help protect yourself and others from what can be a severe, and sometimes fatal, illness which could lead to a hospital treatment. You will also be helping to protect the NHS from coming under pressure.

You should have the flu vaccine if you: 

  • are 65 years old or over   
  • are pregnant 
  • are an adult or child with certain conditions
  • live with someone on the shielded patient list
  • are aged 50-64 (but please note that vaccinations will be given later in the year for this group)
  • are living in a care home or other long-stay facility
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or you’re the main carer for an elderly or disabled person
  • are aged 2-3
  • are in primary school, or the first year of secondary school (Year 7)
  • are a frontline health and social care worker.

The NHS will contact you directly if you are eligible, and will give you information about where to go to get the vaccine.

Flu FAQs

The flu vaccination is safe and effective and must be given annually. It cannot give you the flu. It does not protect you from COVID-19 or seasonal coughs and colds, but it does give protection against the strains of flu virus that will be circulating this year.

Adults usually receive the flu vaccination in injection form, and children usually receive a nasal spray.

We expect that the flu vaccination will be available from autumn 2020 onwards. You will be invited to book a vaccination appointment at around this time, but please contact your GP practice if not. It’s important that you have your vaccination as soon as possible.

Many people will receive their flu vaccination at a GP surgery as usual. Others may go to a pharmacy or another location in their community. School-aged children will receive their vaccination from a trained health professional at school or in their community. Health professionals will also visit care homes to vaccinate residents on-site.

The NHS is doing everything it can to make sure that vaccinations are given in safe environments. All possible precautions will be to taken to make sure you, and staff, are protected.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, do not attend your vaccination appointment but instead self-isolate and book a coronavirus test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. You can rebook your flu vaccination appointment at a later date.

The flu virus and Covid-19 have symptoms which overlap, such a high temperature or persistent cough. It may be difficult to tell which virus you have. For this reason, it’s really important that you have a flu vaccination if you are eligible, and that you continue to follow the guidance on self-isolation and testing at nhs.uk/coronavirus if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19.

There has never been a more important time to make sure you, and those you care for, are protected against serious illnesses such as the flu. Where vaccines are available, it’s vital that we use them to help keep everyone safe. Look out for updates from your local GP or NHS team and book your vaccination as soon as they are available. Get the flu vaccination, stay well and protect the NHS.

More information can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/who-should-have-flu-vaccine/

Gov.UK provide Easy Read guides to flu vaccination for people with a learning disability.