There is no need for an appointment, though you can make one with us if you wish. All vaccinations are given in our private consultation room by our trained pharmacist, who will be able to advise on the possible side-effects of a seasonal flu vaccine, why it is important to protect against flu and how you protect yourself in other ways.Our pharmacist is fully trained and we are specialists in the provision of the seasonal flu vaccine.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more or would like to book an appointment. You can simply walk into the pharmacy and ask to have a flu vaccine, there may be a few minutes wait at busy times.
To read more about eligibility, please visit the following link: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/who-should-have-flu-vaccine.aspx
The Seasonal Flu Vaccine.
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.
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.
Types of flu:
There are three sorts of flu viruses:
- Type A is usually the more serious type. The virus is most likely to mutate into a new version, which people are not resistant to. The H1N1 (swine flu) strain is a type A virus. Pandemics in the past were type A viruses.
- Type B generally causes a less severe illness and is responsible for smaller outbreaks. Type B mainly affects young children.
- Type C usually causes a mild illness similar to the common cold.
Most years, one or two strains of type A flu circulate as well as type B.
A new flu vaccine has to be produced each year. This is because the flu virus continually changes and different types of flu virus circulate each winter.
In February each year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) makes an assessment of the strains of flu virus that are most likely to be circulating during the following winter in the northern hemisphere. Based on this assessment, WHO recommends which three flu strains the vaccines should contain for the forthcoming winter. Vaccine manufacturers then produce flu vaccines based on the WHO recommendations. These flu jabs are used for the countries in the northern hemisphere, not just the UK.
Production of the vaccine starts in March each year after the WHO announcement. The vaccine is usually available in the UK from September.
How the vaccine is made
The flu vaccine contains three different types of flu virus (usually two A types and one B type). For most vaccines, the three strains of the viruses are grown in hens’ eggs. The viruses are then killed (deactivated) and purified before being made into the vaccine.
How it protects you
The vaccine causes your body’s immune system to make antibodies to the flu virus.
Antibodies are proteins that recognise and fight off germs that have invaded your blood, such as viruses. If you catch the flu virus later on, the immune system will recognise it and immediately produce the antibodies to fight it.
It may take 10–14 days for your immune system to respond fully after you have had the flu injection.
The antibodies against the flu strains will gradually decrease over time and the flu strains can change from year to year. You need to have a flu jab every year to ensure the best protection against the latest strain of the virus.
Are there any side effects?
The flu jab does not usually cause side effects. Sometimes, it can cause mild fever and slight muscle aches for a day or so.
The flu jab cannot cause flu as there are no active viruses in the vaccine. However, people sometimes catch other flu-like viruses, or very occasionally could catch flu before the vaccine takes effect.
Allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare.