Our Cardiomyopathy Support Nurse, Jayne, has shared her guidance and answered the most commonly asked questions surrounding the 2022 flu vaccinations.
Flu is caused by the influenza virus, which infects the windpipe and lungs. Some people can be affected worse than others if they catch the flu. Flu can sometimes worsen existing conditions even if your condition is stable, and in some people, it can cause pneumonia. People diagnosed with a long-term heart condition such as cardiomyopathy and/or heart failure are included in the heart condition category in clinical at-risk groups and are entitled to receive their flu vaccination.
The free seasonal flu vaccination will be made available to over 35 million people and this year it is more important than ever. It’s important for us to be protected to avoid having flu and COVID infection at the same time. Having the flu vaccine will also help reduce the strain on the NHS. The more people who are vaccinated against flu will mean fewer people will need NHS treatment this winter.
During the 2022- 2023 season, the flu vaccination is available to:
- All children aged 2-3 years on 31st August 2022
- All primary school-aged children
- Those aged 6 months to under 65 years of age in clinical risk groups
- People aged 65 years or over
- Pregnant women
- People in long-stay residential care homes
- People in close contact with immunosuppressed people
Frontline staff employed by the following types of healthcare providers without employer-led occupational health schemes:
- Registered residential care or nursing home
- Registered domiciliary care provider
- A voluntary managed hospice provider
- Direct payments (personal budget) or personal health budgets, such as personal assistants
Starting from mid-October, people aged 50 years old and over (including those who will be 50 years old by 31 March 2023) can have a free NHS flu vaccine. This is so at-risk groups can be offered vaccination first.
If you're in this age group and have a long-term health condition that puts you at risk from flu, you do not have to wait until mid-October.
When should I get my flu vaccination?
It’s advisable to get vaccinated as soon as you are offered the vaccine, and before flu starts to circulate more widely. Don’t worry if you don’t have it in the autumn, you can still receive it in the winter months if supplies are available.
If you would like your flu vaccine you can speak to your GP surgery, or wait to be invited. You can also speak to your community pharmacist and ask if they can arrange for you to have it. The flu vaccine is free on the NHS to those who are eligible. If you pay for your flu vaccine, you can get it from your community pharmacy or even some high-street supermarkets.
Will I get the flu from the vaccine?
No, there are no live viruses in the vaccine, you might have some mild side effects which can include soreness around the injection site and aching muscles which are much less serious than the effects of contracting flu.
Can I receive my flu vaccine at the same time as my COVID booster?
Flu vaccination and COVID booster vaccination may be offered at the same appointment. The medicines regulator has reviewed the evidence and decided that it is safe to do so. In some cases, they may be given separately at any interval.
Why do I need a flu vaccination every year?
The flu virus changes every year so the vaccine is updated every year to provide protection so it is important to be vaccinated every year.
Where can I find more information?
Information from the NHS about the flu vaccination can be found here.