Last month the Government announced plans to double the number of people who receive the flu jab, following the coronavirus crisis.
The Government wants 30 million people to be vaccinated this year, up from 15 million last year.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said he did not want a flu outbreak “at the same time as dealing with coronavirus”.
The flu jab is free, but analysis has shown the take up rate has dropped by five percent, while the Government has ambitions to vaccinate 55 percent of people in vulnerable groups.
The uptake rate among over 65s, the primary recipients, had stayed high, with 73 percent taking up the offer last year.
Public Health England says the jab – which in recent years has been freely available to over 65s, those with long running health conditions and pregnant women, among others – is the most effective way to reduce pressures on intensive care units.
There are several types of flu vaccine.
If you’re eligible for the flu vaccine on the NHS, you’ll be offered one that’s most effective for you, depending on your age:
- children aged 2 to 17 are offered a live vaccine (LAIV) as a nasal spray; the live viruses have been weakened so it cannot give you flu
- adults aged 18 to 64 are offered an injected inactivated vaccine; there are different types, but none contains live viruses so they cannot give you flu
- adults aged 65 and over are offered an injected inactivated vaccine; the most common one contains an adjuvant to help your immune system have a stronger response to the vaccine
If your child is aged between six months and two years old and is in a high-risk group for flu, they’ll be offered an injected flu vaccine because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under two.