The NHS is encouraging all eligible groups to take up the offer of a free flu vaccine as the UK braces itself for a potentially serious flu outbreak this winter. It has already struck parts of the Southern Hemisphere.
Flu can be serious, even fatal, for some people. The following at-risk groups can get the vaccine free on the NHS, either at a pharmacy or their GP surgery:
- Anyone aged 65 or over
- Pregnant women
- Children aged 2 and 3, or in their first 5 years of primary school (they have a nasal spray)
- Anyone with a serious underlying health condition, such as asthma
- Carers of disabled and / or elderly people
- NHS workers
If you're not in an eligible group, you can pay to have the vaccine privately at a high street or supermarket pharmacy. Prices vary:
- Asda - £5
- Boots - £12.99
- Lloyds - £10
- Superdrug - £9.99
- Well - £9
Flu strains change over time, so new vaccines are produced each year to match them. Therefore, you need a new flu jab each year to be effectively protected.
The NHS drive to encourage people to get vaccinated against flu is part of a wider campaign the health service is running with Public Health England called Stay Well This Winter.
Public Health England says the nasal spray vaccine is being offered "to more children than ever" this year.
For more information on flu and the flu vaccine, visit the NHS Choices website.