Free flu vaccines are available for:-
1. People aged 65 years or older.
2. All pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.
3. Children aged 2-12 years. Children aged 2-12 years receive a nasal spray flu vaccine. Children who cannot be given the nasal spray flu vaccine (due to contraindications) may need to be given the vaccine by injection.
4. People who have close, regular contact with pigs, poultry or water fowl.
5. “The at risk group” – those aged 6-23 months (please note that infants/children aged 6 months to 8 years in an “at risk” group who have had no previous flu vaccine will require a second vaccination 4 weeks after the first) and 13 to 64 years who are at increased risk of Influenza related complications. The group includes those with:-
- chronic heart disease, including acute coronary syndrome
- chronic liver disease
- chronic kidney failure
- chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, moderate or severe asthma, or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- chronic neurological disease including multiple sclerosis, hereditary and degenerative disorders of the central nervous system
- Down syndrome
- a body mass index (BMI) over 40
- immunosuppression due to disease or treatment (including asplenia or hyposplenism, and all cancer patients)
- children with a moderate to severe neurodevelopmental disorder such as cerebral palsy
- children on long-term aspirin therapy
- any condition that can compromise respiratory function, like spinal cord injury, seizure disorder or other neuromuscular disorder, especially people also attending special schools or day centres
6. Those likely to transmit influenza to a person at high risk for influenza complications:-
- Health Care Workers, both for their own protection and for the protection of patients.
- Only household contacts or carers of people who have an underlying chronic health condition or have Down syndrome are eligible to receive an influenza vaccine. A carer is described as someone who is providing an ongoing significant level of care to a person who is in need of care in the home due to illness or disability or frailty e.g. those in receipt of a carer’s allowance.
- household contacts of people aged 65 years and older (who do not also have a chronic health condition), pregnant women, children aged 2-12 years or of healthcare workers or carers are not recommended the influenza vaccine.