Vaccinations

Shingles

Click here for more information about shingles and the vaccine.

Seasonal Flu

Seasonal flu is a highly infectious respiratory illness caused by a variety of different flu viruses. It spreads rapidly through droplets dispersed by the coughs and sneezes of infected people.

Each year, a vaccine is developed to protect against the strains of flu virus that are expected to be most prevalent that winter. This 'flu jab' is used not just in the UK, but throughout the Northern hemisphere. It gives good protection (70-80% reliability) against all strains of flu included in the vaccination and lasts for a year.

The entire process of developing the seasonal flu vaccine is led, organised and overseen by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The flu jab is offered to people in at-risk groups. These are people, such as pregnant women and the elderly, who are at greater risk of developing serious complications if they catch flu.

You should check now to see if you or members of your family are in an at-risk group.

Conditions that put you at higher risk of flu

The seasonal flu jab is offered free of charge to anyone over the age of six months with the following medical conditions, as they are at higher risk of catching flu:

  • chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, COPD or bronchitis,
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure,
  • chronic kidney disease,
  • chronic liver disease,
  • chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson's disease or motor neurone disease,
  • diabetes, or a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment.

Treating seasonal flu

If you are otherwise fit and healthy, you can manage your symptoms of seasonal flu at home (see below). You will usually get better without treatment.

If you are in an at-risk group and have flu-like symptoms, or if your flu symptoms are getting worse, see your GP. These groups are more likely to suffer complications from flu. You may be prescribed antiviral medication.

Antibiotics are not prescribed for flu as they have no effect on viruses. However, occasionally it may be necessary to treat complications of flu, especially serious chest infections or pneumonia.

Caring for yourself at home

Make sure you have plenty of rest and are taking paracetamol-based cold remedies to lower your temperature and relieve symptoms.

Some over-the-counter treatments can be given to children who have flu, according to the instructions supplied with each medicine. Under-16s must not take aspirin or ready-made flu remedies containing it.

Always read the medicine's label or check with the pharmacist that it is suitable for children to take.

Drink plenty of fluids while you are recovering. You may need to stay in bed for two or three days after your symptoms peak.

Seasonal Flu Vaccination For Pregnant Women

It is recommended that all pregnant women should have the flu vaccine, regardless of the stage of pregnancy they are at.

It is safe to have the flu vaccine at any stage of pregnancy from conception onwards. The vaccine does not carry risks for the mother or her baby.

There is strong evidence to suggest that pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they get flu, particularly from the H1N1 strain.

If you are pregnant, you will benefit from the flu vaccine because it:

  • reduces your risk of developing serious complications, such as pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy
  • reduces your risk of having a miscarriage or your baby being born too soon or with a low birthweight, due to flu
  • will help protect your baby because they will continue to have some immunity to flu for the first few months of their life

Talk to your GP or midwife if you are unsure about the vaccination.

Vaccination Schedule

At two months old:

  • Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) (DTaP/IPV/Hib) - one injection
  • Pneumococcal infection - pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) - one injection
  • Rotavirus - Rotarix vaccine - one injection

At three months old:

  • Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) (DTaP/IPV/Hib) - one injection
  • Meningitis C (meningococcal group C) (MenC) - one injection
  • Rotavirus - Rotarix vaccine - one injection

At four months old:

  • Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) (DTaP/IPV/Hib) - one injection
  • Meningitis C (meningococcal group C) (MenC) - one injection
  • Pneumococcal infection - pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) - one injection

Between 12 and 13 months old - within a month of the first birthday:

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and Meningitis C (Hib/MenC) - booster dose in one injection
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) (MMR) - one injection
  • Pneumococcal infection - pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) - one injection

Three years four months to five years old (pre-school):

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio (dTaP/IPV or DTaP/IPV) - one injection
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) (MMR) - one injection

12 to 18 years old:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and polio (Td/IPV) - one injection
  • Cervical cancer caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) types 16 and 18 - HPV (three injections over a period of six months for girls – 12 to 13 years)

65 (and over) :

  • flu (annually)
  • Pneumococcal

Routine Childhood Immunisation Schedule

Age

Vaccination

Brand(s)

Dosing and route'

2 months DTaP/IPV/Hib Pediacel One im inj
  PCV Prevenar 13 One im inj
  Rotarix Rotarix One im inj
3 months DTaP/IPV/Hib Pediacel One im inj
  MenC Meningitec
Menjugate Kit
NeisVacC
One im inj
  Rotarix Rotarix One im inj
4 months DTaP/IPV/Hib Pediacel One im inj
  MenC Meningitec
Menjugate Kit
NeisVacC
One im inj
  PCV Prevenar 13 One im inj
Between 12 and 13 months
old - within a month of the
first birthday
Hib/MenC Menitorix One im inj
  PCV Prevenar 13 One im inj
  MMR M-M-RvaxPro
Priorix
One im inj
3 years 4 months
to 5 years
dTaP/IPV
or
DTaP/IPV
Repevax
or
Infanrix-IPV
One im inj
  MMR M-M-RvaxPro
Priorix
One im inj
12 to 18 years Td/IPV Revaxis One im inj
  HPV (three injections over a period of six months for girls – 12 to 13 years) Gardasil3 Three im inj (at 0, 2 and 6 months)
Your Neighbourhood Professionals. Just a Click Away! Bonnar & Co
Your Neighbourhood Professionals. Just a Click Away! Bonnar & Co