THE FLU VACCINE
Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications. Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.
However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:
- anyone aged 65 and over
- pregnant women
- have an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
- have a weakened immune systems
Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it’s recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.
What’s new in 2018?
There are two factors this year that will affect the way in which we run our clinics.
There are 3 types of flu vaccine:
- a live quadrivalent vaccine (which protects against 4 strains of flu), given as a nasal spray. This is for children and young people aged 2 to 17 years eligible for the flu vaccine
- a quadrivalent injected vaccine. This is for adults aged 18 and over but below the age of 65 who are at increased risk from flu because of a long-term health condition and for children 6 months and above in an eligible group who cannot receive the live vaccine
- an adjuvanted injected vaccine. This is for people aged 65 and over
This year our vaccine supplies are being dispatched as follows:
- 40% in September
- 20% in October
- 40% in November
As a consequence, this year our flu clinics will be tailored around the above two factors. Meaning we will be running separate clinics depending on your age and they will be spread out through September – December.
A Breakdown of who is eligible
65 and overs and the flu vaccine – You are eligible for the flu vaccine this year (2018/19) if you will be aged 65 and over on 31 March 2019 – that is, you were born on or before 31 March 1954. So, if you are currently 64 but will be 65 on 31 March 2019, you do qualify.
Pregnant women – All pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
An underlying health condition – The qualifying conditions are:
- Chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis
- Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- Chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5.
- Chronic liver disease
- Chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s Disease, moto neurone disease or learning disability
- Splenic dysfunction or asplenia
- Morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above)
Weakened immune systems – Weather this is due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment). Consideration should also be given to the vaccination of household contact of immunocompromised individuals, specifically individuals who expect to share living accommodation on most days over the winter and therefore, for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable
Carer – Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.
Other vaccines that you may be offered
What is Shingles?
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus)
Who can have the shingles vaccination?
Shingles vaccination is available to all people aged 70 or 78. In addition, anyone who was previously eligible but missed out on their shingles vaccination remains eligible until their 80th birthday. The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS to anyone aged 80 or over because it seems to be less effective in this age group. You can have the shingles vaccination at any time of year, as soon as you turn 70 or 78.
Is there anyone who should not have the shingles vaccination?
You should not have the shingles vaccination if you:
- Have a weakened immune system
- You’ve had a serious allergic reaction (including an anaphylactic reaction) to a previous dose of any of the substances in the vaccine, such as neomycin and gelatin
- You’ve had a serious allergic reaction (including an anaphylactic reaction) to a previous dose of the chickenpox vaccine
- Have an untreated TB infection
Who should have the pneumococcal vaccine?
There are four groups of people who are advised to get vaccinated against pneumococcal infections:babies
- people aged 65 and over
- anyone from the ages of 2 to 65 with a long-term health condition
- anyone at occupational risk, such as welders
Babies – Babies are routinely vaccinated as part of their childhood vaccination programme.
Adults aged 65 or over – If you are 65 or over and haven’t already had a pneumo jab, you will be offered a type of pneumo jab known as the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV). This one-off vaccination is very effective at protecting you against serious forms of pneumococcal infection.
People with long-term health problems and the pneumococcal vaccine – The PPV pneumo jab is available on the NHS for children and adults aged from 2 to 64 years old who are at a higher risk of developing a pneumococcal infection than the general population. This is generally the same people who are eligible for annual flu vaccination.
You’re considered to be at a higher risk of a pneumococcal infection if you have:
- had your spleen removed, your spleen does not work properly or if you are at risk of your spleen not working properly in future (for example if you have coeliac disease)
- a long-term respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- heart disease, such as congenital heart disease
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as liver cirrhosis
- a suppressed immune system caused by a health condition such as HIV
- a suppressed immune system caused by medication such as chemotherapy or steroid tablets
- a cochlear implant (a small hearing device fitted inside your ear)
- had cerebrospinal fluid (the clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spine) leaking from its usual position – this could be due to an accident or surgery
Adults and children over the age of five who are severely immunocompromised (including anyone with leukaemia; multiple myeloma; genetic disorders affecting the immune system or after a bone marrow transplant) usually have a single dose of PCV followed by PPV.
Welders and metal workers – Some people with an occupational risk are advised to have the pneumococcal vaccine, including those who work with metal fumes, such as welders.
Booster doses of pneumococcal vaccine – If you are at increased risk of a pneumococcal infection, you will be given the PPV vaccination just once, and generally this will protect you for life. However, if your spleen does not work properly or if you have a chronic kidney condition, you may need booster doses of PPV every five years. This is because your levels of antibodies against the infection will decrease over time.
IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR YOUR FLU VACCINATION, REMEBER TO BOOK INTO ONE OF OUR CLINICS.
CLINICS START FROM MONDAY 17th SEPTEMBER.
FOR THOSE WHO WORK MONDAY TO FRIDAY AND STRUGGLE TO COME DOWN DURING THE WEEK, WE HAVE TWO SATURDAY CLINICS ON THE 15th SEPTEMBER AND 3rd NOVEMBER.
CALL OUR RECEPTION ON 01200 413600 AND BE A FLU FIGHTER.
N.B At present we are still waiting on information for the childhood flu vaccinations. Once we have more information, we will inform the parents of the children eligible and put more information on our website.