Flu vaccine 2020: Am I eligible for flu vaccine? Is it FREE?

The flu vaccine is given each year to those most at risk of developing severe illness from the flu. However as with many things this year, the coronavirus outbreak has changed how the vaccine will be given this year. Now more people are able to take the flu vaccine, and the Government is pledging to double the amount of vaccines given.

Last year, 15 million people were given the vaccination, with the Government promising to up this to 30 million before December.

This is to prevent a wave of flu illnesses alongside the already devastating coronavirus cases.

The flu vaccine is available each year, with the NHS advising to take it in the autumn, as flu cases spread widely come winter.

Pharmacists and GPs can give the vaccine, with those who need it able to book appointments, and either get it for free on the NHS or pay up to £20 for a private jab.

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Am I eligible for flu vaccine? Is it FREE?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has increased the list of people eligible for the flu jab on the NHS.

Those on this list can get the flu jab for free as part of the NHS initiative.

The list includes:

  • Anyone aged 50 and over
  • Pregnant women
  • Children who will turn 11 by 31 August 2020
  • Children in primary school
  • Children aged two and three
  • Children over six months with any long-term health conditions
  • People with health conditions including asthma, kidney disease and heart disease
  • Anyone living in a household with somebody on the NHS shielded patient list
  • Carers and those in care homes
  • Frontline health and social care workers

However the Government has made it clear those most vulnerable to developing severe illness from the flu should be prioritised.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people aged between 50 and 64 will be able to receive the flu jab this year “if we have enough”.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “The most important group to get the flu jab are those who are the most vulnerable if they get the flu.

“So we absolutely are targeting efforts at getting as many of the over-65s as possible, and those with underlying health conditions which mean that they really need the flu jab, in the first instance.

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“We will then extend the pre-flu jab to the over-50s, so those between aged 50 and 64, if we have enough.

“But the truth is that there is a global increase in demand for the flu vaccine. We’ve bought more than ever before.

“I hope that we can get a big increase in the proportion of the over-65s who are getting it because they’re the people who, if they get the flu, are much, much more likely to end up in hospital.”

He added: “And then we’ll roll it out to the under-65s, from 50 upwards, as and when we can see how well the over-65 programme is going.”

Asked on BBC Breakfast if people aged 50 to 64 should worry there might not be enough flu vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “No, because those who are under 65 are less likely to have a bad flu and to end up in hospital than the over-65s.”

“But of course we want to go as far as we can and so, for the over-50s, the jab will be available once we have done the core work of trying to get to as many of the over-65s and those who have got underlying health conditions as possible.”

Earlier he said: “We have the biggest flu jab programme ever this autumn; we’ve expanded it because we don’t want a flu outbreak at the same time as dealing with coronavirus.”

Mr Hancock said changes to the law will enable health workers such pharmacists, nurses and technicians to also administer jabs.

The flu vaccine will provide protection for those that take it for the upcoming flu season.

People eligible for flu vaccination should have the vaccine each year.

However anyone who isn’t on the list or would like to get a jab privately can do so.

Pharmacies like Boots and Lloyds can offer the flu vaccine for around £12.99.

Some pharmacies cost more – up to £20 – so it’s worth doing your research before booking.

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