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Flu vaccine

Flu vaccine

Boost your immunity this winter with the free NHS flu vaccination.

Flu occurs every year and most people usually recover within a week or so, but for some, the disease can be dangerous and increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital or even death.

Having a flu vaccine is the most effective way to boost our natural immunity and protect ourselves, the communities we serve, and our loved ones from the harmful effects of flu this winter.

Why do I need a vaccine?

Flu and COVID can both be life-threatening and spread more easily in winter, when we are all crowded together inside.

As we learn to live with COVID-19, it’s so important to make sure you are protected against potentially serious winter illnesses such as the flu.

Even if you were vaccinated against flu last year, you will need another this winter as the virus can change from year-to-year. Boost your immunity this winter by getting the free vaccine.

Where and when to get the flu jab

It’s best to have the flu vaccination in the autumn.

The flu jab is free for everyone who is at increased risk. To get the vaccination, speak to your GP or practice nurse or pharmacist, or visit the NHS website. You can also book an appointment at a local pharmacy.

Free flu jab

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:

  • are 50 or over (including those who'll be 50 by 31 March 2022)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • frontline health or social care workers
  • are pregnant

COVID-19 booster vaccination

Some people are being offered a COVID booster vaccination this autumn, this includes health and social care workers, anyone over 50 and people with health conditions. You will be offered a booster dose at least 6 months after you had your 2nd dose. Visit the NHS website to find out more about the COVID-19 booster vaccine and who can get it.

If you are offered both vaccines, it's safe to have them at the same time.

Frequently asked questions

Is the vaccine safe?


The flu vaccines have a good safety record. Flu vaccines that have been licensed in England have been thoroughly tested before they're made available, and have been used in other countries with a good safety record. Serious side effects of the injected flu vaccine are very rare.

What about the nasal vaccine?

Is it safe to attend healthcare appointments?

NHS premises are safe, it is important you attend to get your flu vaccination this winter.

You are at greater risk of having a serious illness if you don’t have the flu jab.

Continue to follow all government advice on COVID-19 when you attend a health service. Please do not attend a GP practice or pharmacy if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Is your question not answered?

Take a look at the NHS mythbusters for more.