Flu season is soon to be underway in the UK, as the country prepares for five months of heightened influenza transmission. For some people the season can be dangerous territory, as strains of the virus can wreak chaos on the body, resulting in permanent disability or death. Fortunately for them, the flu jab is available, which is on hand to lessen the burden of multiple different viruses.
Who should get the flu jab?
While important, the flu jab is a commodity not available to all, as the NHS prioritises groups for the vaccine.
Health officials say the jab is not 100 percent effective but will lessen the impact in people who contract the disease.
The following groups are eligible to get a free flu vaccine in 2019:
– All children aged two to ten by August 31 2019
– Pregnant women
– People aged 65 years or over
– Residents of long-term care homes
– People close to immunocompromised individuals
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While carers or those people who work and live with immunocompromised individuals are not in danger from the flu, their companions are.
When applied on a large enough scale, vaccines produce an effect called ‘herd immunity’.
Herd immunity comes when 90 percent of the total population has been vaccinated against an illness.
In smaller communities, if enough of the population is vaccinated, this prevents immunocompromised people from contracting a potentially deadly infection.
How can you check if you are eligible for the flu jab?
The NHS website contains a lengthy list of those who are available for the jab, although it is not exhaustive.
If people are unsure as to whether they can get the jab, they should visit their GP for guidance.
Some people who may believe they are eligible for the jab may have health complications which mean they should avoid it.
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Who cannot get the flu jab?
The flu jab is incubated in chicken’s eggs before injection, meaning those with an egg allergy are advised not to take the jab.
The following groups should not get a flu vaccination:
– Children younger than six months of age
– People with severe life-threatening allergies to any ingredients in the vaccine
The following groups of people should talk to their doctor before getting a flu jab:
– People who have or used to have Guillain-Barré Syndrome
– People who feel unwell or have a fever
– People with a non-life threatening allergy to vaccine ingredients
A full list of people who should not get the nasal flu vaccination is available via the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website.
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