In today’s world if you hear the word ‘vaccination’ most people will think of the Covid-19 jab which has been rolling out throughout the world.
But there is another vaccination that is just as important for many people in the UK this Winter, and that’s the flu jab.
You see, just because Covid is out there doesn’t mean that the flu has gone away. In fact the flu can be just as debilitating for many who catch it, and for those in vulnerable groups it can cause serious illness.
Luckily there is a long-proven vaccination to help prevent the flu which is free and easily available on the NHS. You can even have it at the same time as your Covid booster jab if you want. In fact that is what I did just before Christmas.
But why do we need to remember the flu jab?
Partly it’s a question of immunity. Because people have been socially distancing for a long time now we have built-up less immunity to the influenza virus. So when a new strain comes in over the Winter period more people will get sick.
Most people would be unlucky to get more than one episode of flu in their lifetimes but others can be more susceptible and get it more than once.
Like any virus, flu instances can vary every year. In fact due partly to social distancing, flu rates have been lower recently which on the one hand is good news. But on the other it means our natural immunity to it is lower.
There are many misconceptions about vaccinations. The flu jab has been around in England since the 1960’s, is well researched, safe, and free on the NHS for the over 50’s. The adult version can’t “give you” flu as is does not contain a live virus.
Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses, although there's still a chance you might get it. If you do get flu after vaccination however, it's likely to be milder and not last as long.
Having the flu vaccine will also stop you spreading flu to other people who may be more at risk of serious problems from flu.
Like the Covid-19 vaccines it can take upto 14 days for you to receive the full protection.
My message would be that if you are eligible, then get the flu jab. It’s a very simple, straightforward process which takes about 3 seconds to administer. I always have mine, as does my Mum.
In these times it’s important to be sensible with not just your own health, but other people’s. Until next time, keep well and stay safe.