Getting the flu vaccine is particularly important this year, because research shows that you are more likely to be seriously ill if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time.
Changes have been made to make sure it’s safe for you and your child to have the flu vaccine at your GP surgery or at school. These changes include social distancing, hand washing and wearing protective equipment.
Who is eligible for a flu vaccine?
- All children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2020. Vaccinations for these children are delivered by their GP.
- All children in primary school and those in Y7 at secondary school. These children will receive their vaccination in school. Parents must be asked to fill in a consent form.
- People who are on the Shielded Patient List and members of their household
- Children, young people and adults with a serious long-term health condition. This includes people with conditions like diabetes, asthma or heart disease, and people with a learning disability or cerebral palsy.
You can request a free flu vaccine for yourself or your child even if you are not in the defined risk group. GPs are asked to use their clinical judgement in deciding whether someone would benefit from the vaccination. For example, although epilepsy is not on the list of qualifying conditions, people with uncontrolled epilepsy who experience increased seizures when they have a fever, may benefit from the flu jab.
GPs in Sheffield have received a letter from Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, reminding them to offer the flu vaccine to people with a learning disability and their carers, and to make reasonable adjustments for them. You may find it useful to show this letter to your surgery.
- Carers. This includes family members who are carers and paid support workers, such as PAs. Carers need to get their flu jab from their own GP – but they will only be invited if the GP has them coded as a “carer” or “needs flu vaccine”. Contact your GP and ask them to check this if you are not sure.
- Pregnant women
- Anyone aged 65 years and over; people aged 50 to 64 should be contacted about a flu vaccine later in the year
- People in long-stay residential care homes
- Frontline health and social care workers
Could I get several family members vaccinated at the same time?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. This year, there are three different types of vaccines to be used in the flu programme, depending on the age of the person. These will arrive at GP surgeries in small batches at different times in the autumn. Please be patient with your GP as they try to deliver what is now a very complicated programme.
Who gets the nasal vaccine and who gets an injection?
The nasal vaccine is normally given to children and young people aged between 2 and 18 years. There are some people who are unable to have the nasal spray, including those with severe asthma or a heavy cold. Your GP or nurse will be able to advise you.
The injection is for babies under the age of 2 years and adults aged 18 years and over who are in one of the clinical risk groups. However, if an adult with a learning disability is not able to have the vaccine due to a fear of injections, then a nasal vaccine can be given. This needs to be specifically prescribed under a Patient Specific Direction. You should ask your GP or nurse in advance, in order for them to organise this before the appointment.
What if my child is accidentally vaccinated twice?
We know that some of our secondary special schools also offer vaccinations for their students. You should be asked to sign a consent form before your child is given the vaccine. However, don’t be alarmed if for some reason this does not happen and your child ends up being vaccinated both at school and by their GP. There is no increased risk of side effects in an otherwise healthy child.
Make sure that your child and those caring for them are covered this year!