The Government is urging people to have the flu vaccine (also known as the flu jab) this year. Last year’s jab was not as effective as hoped and medical experts are concerned that some people may decide not to have the vaccine.
The flu vaccination is available every year to protect adults at risk from flu and its complications. Flu is unpleasant for anyone but for the following groups it can be more severe:
- Anyone aged 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- Children and adults with underlying health conditions, such as long term heart or breathing problems.
- Children and adults with weakened immune systems
The NHS offers a free flu vaccine to these groups each year. The vaccine is also given as a nasal spray to healthy children aged two, three and four years old plus children in school years one and two and children aged two to 17 years at a particular risk of flu.
The virus that causes flu often changes, which means that in some years the vaccine isn’t as effective as hoped. However, the vaccine is the best protection we have against flu and studies have shown that in most cases the flu jab does work.
The jab won’t stop all flu viruses but, if you do get flu after being vaccinated, it’s likely to be a milder form and won’t last as long. Having the jab means you are also less likely to develop serious complications like pneumonia or pass the virus on to vulnerable people, such as the elderly.
(Picture credit: William Brawley)