Flu vaccine UK: Can it protect against COVID-19? Changes to this year’s flu jab service

Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS for those at risk of flu and its complications. Flu has been found to be more servere in certain people, such as anyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children and adults with underlying health conditions, and children and adults with weakened immune systems.

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This year, the government’s flu vaccination programme is being extended and will be available for free for people aged 50 to 65 and for households living with people shielding from coronavirus.

But will this year’s vaccine protect you against COVID-19?

According to Richard Bradley, Director of Pharmacy at Boots, the flu vaccination doesn’t prevent coronavirus, but with flu season (winter) being a particularly busy time for GPs and hospitals, getting this year’s flu vaccine could reduce the risk of the NHS becoming overwhelmed.

He said: “As COVID-19 continues to be present in the UK, it is more important than ever for people to consider getting their flu vaccination this year.

“Although the flu vaccination does not prevent COVID-19 in any way, both of these viruses have an impact on the respiratory system so if you can prevent the flu, it can be a huge benefit to your overall health including your immunity system.

“We also know that winter is a particularly busy time for GPs and hospitals. Vaccinating to protect against influenza could help reduce the risk of the NHS becoming overwhelmed with both cases of flu and COVID-19.

“We are glad to be opening a list for customers to register their interest so they can plan ahead and look to protect themselves ahead of the winter flu season”.

While winter flu jab services are returning to many places like Boots this year, there will be changes to how the jab is administered.

If you choose to use Boot’s winter flu jab service, first part of your consultation may be via phone. And if you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should cancel or rebook.

You should also try and go to get your flu vaccination alone. If you do being someone, they need to wear a face covering and confirm they don’t have COVID-19.

When it comes to preparing for your appointment, you should bring your own pen for any paperwork and wear appropriate clothing for a vaccination into your arm.

If you arrive too early you may be asked to return closer to your allotted time.

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You may be asked to wait in an allocated waiting area to maintain social distancing.

You’ll be asked to use a hand sanitiser and to wear a face covering when in the consultation room.

For children, you should bring something to distract them and talk about face coverings beforehand so they aren’t unfamiliar on the day.

During the appointment you will be asked to speak slowly and clearly when wearing a face covering so the pharmacist has the accurate information needed.

During the vaccination you and the pharmacist will be asked not to speak. If the room is small, they’ll ask to leave the door open during the consultation.

After your vaccination you’ll be advised to check you don’t have any after effects but to maintain a social distance.

People can register their interest now for a flu vaccination at www.boots.com/flu-2020.

Customers who sign up will be the first to know when the online booking system is open later this month.

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