Just the Flu?’ Protect yourself and those around you with the free flu vaccination

Each year the flu kills on average 11,000 people and hospitalises thousands more. This year it’s more important than ever for people at risk to get their free flu vaccine. 

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.

This winter, many more people are eligible to have the free flu vaccine.

If you’re over 65, are pregnant, have a long-term health condition, or you’re in a shielding household, speak to your GP or pharmacist to get a free flu vaccine. 

You can book online with your local pharmacist at my vaccinations.co.uk

Children aged 2-3 can get a free nasal spray at their GP. 

School aged children up to year 7 will be offered the vaccine at school – if you have an eligible child, please make sure they get it to help stop the spread of flu.

The flu spreads from person to person – even amongst those not showing symptoms. The vaccine is the best protection for you and those around you. Find out more.

See below for a full list of those eligible for the vaccine. If you are eligible for a free vaccination, your GP practice will contact you directly by letter or text to arrange it.

Useful links and resources

For the public:

For GPs:

Frequently asked questions

Are you considering not getting the flu vaccine this year? Or is there something about it that concerns you? Read below for more information on why it’s good to get vaccinated, and how to find out more.

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.

See more information here

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 vaccinate care home staff and 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 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 calling119. 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.

No, the vaccine contains an inactivated virus which cannot give you flu.

Only one in a million people get serious side effects. Mild side effects such as soreness around the injection site and aching muscles are more common, but these are far less serious than the effects of contracting flu.

Flu is a very serious illness which kills 11,000 people a year and hospitalises many more. It can lead to severe complications including pneumonia and organ failure.

The flu virus mutates constantly, and the vaccine is updated every year to counter the latest strains so it is important to get vaccine

Flu can cause serious illness or death in healthy people. Getting vaccinated reduces your chance of catching flu by 40-60%.

The flu vaccine is safe at any stage of pregnancy, and is recommended for all pregnant women as they face a higher risk of developing complications from the flu.

This year eligible Londoners will be able to book their flu vaccine online with their local pharmacist at my vaccinations.co.uk. Londoners are also able to walk into pharmacies and get the vaccine.