Seasonal Flu Vaccination
Flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. It spreads rapidly through small droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person. For most people, flu is unpleasant but not serious. You will usually recover within a week.
Studies have shown that flu vaccines provide effective protection against the flu, although protection may not be complete and may vary between people. Protection from the vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains change over time. Therefore, new vaccines are made each year and people at risk of flu are encouraged to be vaccinated every year.
The flu vaccination is offered to people in at-risk groups*. These people are at greater risk of developing serious complications if they catch flu, such as pregnant women and elderly people.
*At Risk Groups
- People aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31sr March 2013)
- All Pregnant Women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
- People with a serious medical condition such as;
- Chronic (long-term) repiratory 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 or Motor Neurone Disease
- A weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
- People living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This does not include, for instance, prisons, young offender institutions, or university halls of residence.
- People who are in receipt of a carer's allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.
The list above is not exhaustive and decisions should be based on a practitioner's clinical judgement. Consideration should also be given to the vaccination of household contacts of immunocompromised individuals, i.e. individuals who expect to share living accommodation on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unaviodable.