Flu Vaccination Service In Chippenham

Flu Vaccination Service In Chippenham

31 / Aug

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Every year from September to March the NHS runs a seasonal flu vaccination campaign. The objective is to vaccinate all patients who are at a higher risk of developing more serious complications from the influenza virus. This includes pneumonia, which can be fatal in many cases. With that in mind, starting on 2nd October 2023, you can use Chippenham Pharmacy’s booking system to make your flu vaccination appointment.

Why Will This Year Be A Difficult Winter?

This year’s flu vaccination campaign is more important than ever as we face the possibility of a ‘twindemic’ as both the seasonal flu and Covid-19 are doing the rounds. The big difference is that it’s all happening without having a nationwide lockdown in place, which certainly helped curb the spread in 2021.

Although flu is unpredictable in terms of activity year on year, many experts have predicted that a resurgence of influenza may occur after the minimal levels in 2021. With different strains of influenza appearing each year, a lower immunised population and fewer people practising social distances or wearing masks, the rate of infection may be higher. It is worth noting that Australia is nearing the end of its worst flu season in five years which could be an early indicator of what will happen in the northern hemisphere this year.

Because people who are infected with both COVID-19 and the flu have a greater chance of dying, getting your flu vaccination is now even more important. If you are eligible, be sure to book your flu vaccine as soon as possible.

Flu Vaccination At Community Pharmacies

Community pharmacies have been providing patients with flu vaccination under a nationally commissioned service since September 2015. Over 2 million flu vaccines were administered by community pharmacies in the 2022/2023 season.

Patients aged 18 and over can get their flu vaccination at their local pharmacy without making an appointment. All you need to do is visit the pharmacy and find out from a member of staff about the service. They may ask you a few medical questions to ensure the vaccine is suitable for you, but otherwise, the process is quick and easy.

Most community pharmacies will be running the service throughout the entire flu season, so if you haven’t had your flu vaccination yet, it’s never too late. However, as we get closer to winter, it’s best to get vaccinated sooner rather than later as it takes around two weeks for your immunity to build up fully.

Who Is Eligible For A Free NHS Flu Vaccination?

If you are eligible for a free NHS flu vaccination, you can get it at your local GP surgery, pharmacy or midwifery service. You should have received a letter from the NHS if you are eligible, but the following groups are usually entitled to a free jab:

  • Pregnant women 
  • At-risk individuals aged 18-64
  • Anyone over the age of 65
  • Children aged 2 and 3 (flu vaccine through a nasal spray)
  • Children in primary school (flu vaccine through a nasal spray)
  • People with certain long-term health conditions
  • Carers, health and social workers
  • Those living in long-stay residential care
  • People living with someone who is more likely to get infections. This could be as a result of the person having HIV, has had a transplant or currently undergoing certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

If you are not sure if you are eligible, you can check with your pharmacy or surgery. You can also find out more about the eligibility criteria on the NHS website.

How Much Does A Private Flu Vaccination Cost?

If you are not eligible for a free NHS flu vaccination, you can still get vaccinated by a private healthcare provider. The cost of a private flu jab can vary depending on the provider but the usual amount is £15-£20. At Chippenham Pharmacy & Health Clinic, we offer private flu vaccinations for adults over the age of 18 at a price of £15.99.

Do I Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year?

Yes, it is recommended that you have a flu vaccination every year as the strains of influenza can change annually. This means that the immunity gained from last year’s vaccine may not be effective against this year’s flu strain.

It’s also worth noting that the immunity from the vaccine typically only lasts for around six months, so it’s important to get vaccinated at the start of each flu season. In the UK, the flu season typically runs from October to March, with peak activity usually occurring between December and February.

Why Get Vaccinated Against Flu?

Flu is a highly infectious disease that can cause severe illness and even death, particularly in vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Symptoms of flu include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, weakness, tiredness and a dry cough. Some people may also experience diarrhoea and vomiting.

Flu can be very unpleasant, but most people recover within a week or two. However, some people who have underlying health conditions, the elderly and pregnant women may develop severe complications such as bronchitis, secondary bacterial pneumonia, and more rarely meningitis, encephalitis and /or death.

Flu during pregnancy may be associated with perinatal mortality ie stillbirth, prematurity ie births before 37 weeks, small neonatal size and lower birth weight.  The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu is to get vaccinated every year.

What Are The Side Effects Of A Flu Shot?

Most people who receive a flu vaccination will not experience any side effects. However, mild side effects can occur in some cases including a sore arm, headache or feeling tired. These side effects usually only last a day or two and are usually nothing to worry about.

In very rare cases, some people may experience more severe side effects such as high fever, muscle pain or swelling of the face and limbs. If you experience any of these side effects, you should contact your GP or pharmacist for advice.

Chippenham Pharmacy is offering both NHS and private flu vaccination services to all eligible patients. If you haven’t already, book your appointment today by calling us on 01249 793 600. Visit the website for more information about our services, including travel clinic and vaccinations, ear microsuction, hearing tests and weight management among others.