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Flu isn't just a cold. It is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch. Flu will often get better on its own, but it can make some people seriously ill. It is important to get the flu vaccine if you're advised to.

The flu vaccine

The flu jab can help protect people of all ages and is perfectly safe. The virus changes every year so it is important to get a jab each year. People who are older, pregnant and with health conditions are among those recommended to get the vaccine.

Find out more about the flu and the flu vaccine.

Who should have the vaccine

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to:

  • Those aged two and three years on 31 August 2022
  • School aged children - this includes all primary school aged children (reception to year six) and eligible secondary school aged children
  • Those aged six months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • 50 to 64 year olds
  • All those aged 65 years and over
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers, those in receipt of carer’s allowance, or the main carer of an older or disabled person
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline health and social care staff

Read the who should have the flu vaccination and why guidance for more information.

Children's flu vaccine

The children's nasal spray flu vaccine is safe and effective. It is offered every year to children to help protect them against flu. Children can catch and spread flu easily. Vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies and older people.

If your child is aged between six months and two years and has a long-term health condition that makes them at higher risk from flu, they'll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray. This is because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under two years old.

The nasal spray vaccine offers the best protection for children aged 2 to 17 years. They'll be offered a flu vaccine injection if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them. Injected flu vaccines are also safe and effective.

Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust’s Immunisations Team deliver the school-aged immunisations programme in Richmond.

For more information visit the Trust’s immunisations page and read the latest guidance on flu vaccinations for children.

Getting the vaccine

You can have the NHS flu vaccine at:

  • Your GP surgery
  • A pharmacy offering the service – if you're aged 18 or over
  • Some maternity services if you're pregnant

Sometimes, you might be offered the flu vaccine at a hospital appointment.

For children, where they have the vaccine will depend on their age:

Child's age

Where to have the vaccine

From six months until two years
(with a long-term condition)
GP surgery
From two years until child starts primary school GP surgery
All children at primary school School
Some secondary school aged children in eligible groups School
Children in eligible school groups (with a long-term health condition) School or GP surgery
Children who are home-schooled or not in mainstream education (same ages as those offered in eligible groups at schools) Community clinic


Updated: 21 February 2023

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