Free Flu Vaccine

12th October 2021

Those eligible for the free flu vaccine are being urged to book their appointment as soon as possible in a new film campaign launched on Friday 8th October. The campaign is aiming to help people give themselves and their loved ones the best possible protection this winter.

The new film sees media medics Dr Amir Khan, Dr Dawn Harper and Dr Karan Ranj explain why it is more important than ever for people to get their winter vaccines as soon as possible this autumn.

The Combined Threat of COVID-19 and Flu

The campaign is launched as new research released suggests that adults in England are severely underestimating the combined threat of COVID-19 and flu this winter. There could be a significant flu surge coinciding with continuing or rising COVID-19 cases. This is due to colder weather which favours transmission, darker nights which mean increased social contact indoors where it is less well ventilated and expected lower immunity to flu due to lower levels in circulation last winter.

A recent survey seeking views from 3,000 participants found that nearly one third (32%) were unaware that flu and COVID-19 can circulate at the same time, over a quarter (26%) did not know that flu can be fatal and over half (55%) underestimated the number of people who die from flu in an average year in England (which is approximately 11,000).

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, said:

“This year we are rolling out the largest flu vaccine programme in our history, alongside the new COVID-19 booster vaccine rollout. Both are important to provide vital protection not only to yourself, but also your loved ones while also helping to ease pressure on the NHS.

The COVID-19 vaccine programme is a fantastic example of how successful vaccination programmes can be – with around 130,000 lives saved. It is vital we continue that incredible progress with all those eligible ensuring they get both their flu and COVID-19 booster injections as soon as they are invited.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, adds:

“Not many people got flu last year because of COVID-19 restrictions, so there isn’t as much natural immunity in our communities as usual. We will see flu circulate this winter; it might be higher than usual and that makes it a significant public health concern.

COVID-19 will still be circulating and with more people mixing indoors, sadly some increases are possible. For the first time we will have COVID-19 and flu co-circulating. We need to take this seriously and defend ourselves and the NHS by getting the annual flu jab and the COVID-19 booster when called.”

Eligible people can book an appointment for their flu jab at either their GP practice or their local pharmacy, such as Imperial Pharmacy at The Pantiles. Those who are pregnant can ask for their free flu jab at their local maternity service.

The campaign is also supported by a coalition of leading charities and healthcare professional bodies, including the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Midwives, Asthma UK, British Lung Foundation and Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Watch the campaign video here.

The Winter Flu Vaccination helps to protect you against the three strains of the flu virus, including the H1N1 virus. The optimum time to be vaccinated against seasonal flu is in the autumn, providing maximum protection before the start of flu season.

If you fall into one of the below groups, you are advised to have a flu vaccination:

  • Age 50 or over
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a certain medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease
  • Care for someone whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

But if the above do not apply to you, don’t worry, you may still be eligible for a private, paid-for jab at Imperial Pharmacy.

It’s important to remember that:

  • Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes and can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours
  • Vaccination against COVID-19 will not protect you from flu
  • COVID -19 and flu can circulate at the same time

Imperial Pharmacy

To book your flu jab, contact Imperial Pharmacy in The Pantiles. Appointments are already being booked and are subject to availability, so don’t miss out!