According to reports, 17,000 people in the EU die annually from flu, which might be why healthcare workers have a high level of makeup. Professor Anita Simonds, a consultant in respiratory medicine at the Royal Brompton hospital, said: “Every year I see people who end up in the intensive care unit because of the flu. And people die: it’s one of the biggest causes of death.” When is it too late to get vaccinated and when is the best time?
When it comes to who should be getting vaccinated, Doctor Andrew Thornber, chief medical officer at Now Patient, explains: “The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk.
“This is to help protect them against catching a flu and developing serious complications.
“Usually the elderly, those with long-term health conditions and expectant mothers, will all be offered the vaccine and should be advised to have it.
“Children will usually be offered a vaccine or nasal spray depending on age.
“The flu can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.”
Asthma UK said on their website: “If you’ve ever had the flu, you’ll know it can put you in bed for days. The flu jab is a dead vaccine so can’t give you flu.
“The nasal spray is a live vaccine, but the live virus is given in tiny amounts and healthy children won’t catch flu from it.
“When getting vaccinated, you might get a sore arm, and possibly a slight temperature, headache and aching muscles for a couple of days.
“The flu viruses change each year and the vaccine is updated accordingly – that’s why it’s recommended that you have the latest vaccine every autumn.”
“If you’re offered the vaccine, then make an appointment as soon as possible, If not and you want to have it, then have it over the next month,” advised Dr Thornber.
In September, Doctor Andrew Green will be advising GPs to start ‘dusting off’ contingency plans for a possible flu pandemic this winter.
Speaking at the time, he said: “We never know when the next flu pandemic will strike. However the shortest period between 20th century pandemics was 12 years, and we are already nine years after the last one, so all practices should be dusting off their pandemic plans now.”
The flu jabs are available at GP surgeries as well as a range of pharmacies and supermarkets.
Boots, Asda, Tesco, Lloyds Pharmacy and Superdrug are all offering the flu jab this year.
The prices of the flu jab offered at these places is slightly varied however. Find out how much they cost here.