Should you book your flu jab today?
Many people think flu is just a bad cold, but it isn’t – flu can develop into more serious illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which could lead to a stay in hospital or even death in some cases.
Flu spreads easily – flu viruses can survive as particles in the air, or on surfaces such as door handles for several hours. So one person with flu can infect many others.
The Department of Health recommends flu vaccination if you are:
- Aged 65 or over
- A person with diabetes
Or if you have a long-term condition of the:
- Lungs, e.g. asthma or COPD
- Brain or nervous system
- Immune system
A vaccine to prevent shingles, a common, painful skin disease is available on the NHS to certain people in their 70s.
The shingles vaccine is expected to reduce your risk of getting shingles. If you are unlucky enough to go on to have the disease, your symptoms may be milder and the illness shorter.
Who can have the shingles vaccination?
From September 1 2016 the shingles vaccine is routinely available to people aged 70 and 78. You become eligible for the vaccine on the first day of September 2016 “after” you’ve turned 70 or 78 and remain so until the last day of August 2017.
In addition, anyone who was eligible for immunisation in the previous three years of the programme but missed out on their shingles vaccination remains eligible until their 80th birthday. This includes:
- people aged 71, 72 and 73 on 1st September 2016
- people aged 79 on 1st September 2016
The shingles vaccination is not available on the NHS if you are aged 80 or over.
Until 31st August 2016, the shingles vaccine is still available to all those who were aged 70 or 78 on 1st September 2015.
You can have the shingles vaccination at any time of the year, though many people will find it convenient to have it at the same time as their annual flu vaccination.
If you are eligible you will get a letter in September 2016 to invite you to book into a shingles clinic.