NHS Free Flu Vaccination Winter 2022

From September 2022, the flu vaccine will be offered to over 35 million people in the UK, including secondary school students and those over 50 with no medical condition

This builds on the success of last year’s expanded flu programme, which saw a record number of people get their jab.

Anyone can get flu and pass it on. The flu vaccine is effective at stopping this.

Catching flu can make us seriously unwell, resulting in days in bed, taking time off work, missing things we enjoy doing, and not being able to do easy day-to-day tasks.

This winter, we will all have less immunity to flu and are therefore more likely to catch flu because we have not had flu in general circulation since 2019. The flu season in the Southern Hemisphere, countries like Australia, can often predict the potential for a similar experience in Northern Hemisphere countries. This year, Australia’s flu season started earlier and infected more people than previous years, particularly children aged 5 to 9.

Getting the flu vaccination can prevent us from spreading flu to each other, protecting those who are vulnerable and reducing the burden on the NHS and other health and care services.  Additionally it will help us stay well.

Who is initially eligible for the NHS Free Flu Vaccination?

You should have the flu vaccine if you are:

  • a person aged 50 years or over (including those becoming age 50 years by 31 August 2022)
  • a child aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31st August 2022
  • All pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the influenza season)
  • 6 months to less than 50 years old and have certain medical conditions
    • Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma (that requires an inhaler or tablet steroid treatment, or has led to hospital admission in the past), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis.
    • Chronic heart disease, taking regular medication for ischaemic heart disease, chronic heart failure or congenital heart disease, hypertension with cardiac complications.
    • Chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5, chronic kidney failure, nephrotic syndrome or kidney transplant, those on kidney dialysis.
    • Chronic liver disease, such as chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis or biliary atresia. More information on liver disease and flu.
    • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy. More information for people with a learning disability.
    • Diabetes mellitus  More information on diabetes and flu.
    • Spleen problems – for example, sickle cell disease, if you have had your spleen removed or have coeliac syndrome (due to impact on immune system)
    • Weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy.
    • Are seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above).
  • Living in a long-stay residential care home or another long-stay care facility.
  • Carers: if you receive a carer’s allowance, or you’re the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill. More information for Carers.
  • Work in a care home, residential or nursing home or provide domiciliary care for those in vulnerable group or employed through Direct Payments or Personal Health Budget to deliver domiciliary care.
  • Your GP may decide you are clinically at risk for other reasons and recommend a flu jab.

For more information on eligibility, please click here: Flu vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

How has the NHS Free Flu vaccination programme been expanded this year?

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have widened the offer of the free flu vaccine to more eligible groups this year.

These additional groups will only be eligible once the most vulnerable: pre-school and primary school children, those aged 65 years and over and those in clinical risk groups, have been offered the jab.

The additional groups set to be offered the free flu vaccine in England will be:

  • all adults aged 50 to 64 years (including those who turn 50 by 31 March 2023)
  • secondary school children in years 7, 8 and 9, who will be offered the vaccine in order of school year (starting with the youngest first)

Where can I get my free NHS flu vaccination?

If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy that offers it on the NHS. You may also get an invitation to get the vaccine, but you do not have to wait for this before booking an appointment.

Everyone who is eligible for the free flu vaccine will be able to get it, but not all straight away, those who are more vulnerable will be prioritised. If you have an appointment for a Covid-19 booster vaccine at a GP surgery or pharmacy, you may also be offered a flu vaccine at the same time.

Do not delay booking your flu vaccine appointment so that you can get both vaccines together. Only some people will be offered both vaccines at the same time.

I am a Health and Social Care Worker

If you are eligible as an employed health or care worker, you should receive information via your employer. Or you can go along to a pharmacy with ID to prove you are eligible, for example your ID badge, recent payslip or letter from employer on headed paper.

Where can children get their free NHS flu vaccination?

Children in school will be vaccinated at school. More information on vaccination in Somerset schools.

Resources for Children

There are some fun resources which you can use to explain to your child why it is important to get the flu vaccination. These were developed in Wolverhampton so ignore those references but the stories are great! Flu Fighters Versus Chilly, Achy and Snotty tells the story of three slimy alien invaders from the Planet Bogey who came to Earth “to spread disease and make Wolverhampton’s children cough, splutter and sneeze”. Fortunately, their dastardly plans are thwarted by a watchful nurse who protects our young heroes by giving them the nasal spray and turning them into Flu Fighters.

If I am not eligible for a free flu vaccination can I get one privately?


If you are not eligible for a free NHS vaccination, pharmacies are offering flu jabs you can pay for privately. The cost can be as little as around £9.

The following pharmacies in Somerset offer flu vaccinations:

To find your local pharmacy you can use Find a pharmacy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

What are the risks of side effects from the flu vaccination?

The adult flu vaccine is not a live vaccination, which means it cannot give you flu. As with all vaccines you might get a feeling of discomfort where you had the vaccine, or mild symptoms such as shivering or fatigue.

The vaccination types given to adults only contain ‘dead’ virus so you cannot catch flu from it. It takes about two weeks to completely build up your immunity from the vaccination, in this time you may just be unlucky to catch flu. Or you may develop a cold unrelated to the vaccine.

The rate of more severe allergic reactions to a vaccination is about 1-2 per million vaccinations given. The person giving your vaccination will be trained what to do if this happens.

There is more information on the NHS website on side effects.

I am also eligible for my Covid-19 Autumn Booster Jab

To book your covid-19 appointment please visit Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or call 119.  Calls to 119 are free from mobiles and landlines. 119 provides support in 200 languages.

You can book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination here.