Common ailments

Flu vaccination

My mother is 66 years old. She had a seasonal flu vaccination last year and now isn’t sure if she needs another one this year or whether she is already protected. Can you advise?

Your mother will need a jab this year. As with anyone who qualifies for a free seasonal flu jab, it’s vital that she gets the vaccination every year.  

The viruses that cause flu change from year to year, but experts are able to work out in advance which are the viruses that are most likely to cause flu each year – and make vaccinations to protect against them.

Flu is highly infectious and, despite what many people might think, it can be a lot more serious than a cold. For most of us flu is unpleasant but we can recover in a few days. However, in some ‘at risk’ groups it can lead to much more serious complications.  

People in these groups are entitled to a free flu jab on the NHS to protect them against the virus, and should make sure they make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible.  

Your mother will qualify because she is over 65. Other groups who qualify include pregnant mothers, two and three year old children and people with certain long term conditions such as diabetes, kidney or heart problems, or chest complaints.  

If you’re not sure if you are entitled to a free vaccination, or have any questions, ask your GP or go online at www.nhs.uk/flu.

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