How effective is the flu vaccine and who should get a flu jab?

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The flu jab is the best way to protect against the annual influenza virus. But each winter season has a host of different flu viruses, meaning the effectiveness of the vaccine changes each year. How effective is the flu jab, and are you eligible?

Flu is a common respiratory infection that’s caused by influenza viruses.

The infection should last no longer than a few weeks, but in the most severe cases, it can be deadly.

Those most at risk of serious complications from flu include the elderly, pregnant women, young children, and those with chronic medical conditions.

These individuals are subsequently advised to get the annual flu jab.

The flu vaccine varies in effectiveness, dependent on the type of influenza viruses in the environment.

The vaccine is generally around 40 percent effective in protecting against the flu.

Over the past five years, however, its effectiveness has varied between 15 percent and 52 percent.

The 2017/2018 flu season was particularly bad in the UK, with the jab only protecting around 15 percent of people immunised.

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But despite that, the flu jab is currently the best way to avoid becoming infected with influenza.

Last year, the flu vaccine effectiveness was more than 40 percent, and children tend to have a slightly higher rate of effectiveness.

It’s not clear how well the flu jab will protect the population on any given year.

Those most at risk of flu complications are advised to get the vaccine, as it may save their lives.

“For some at-risk groups, flu can be very dangerous,” said the Vaccine Knowledge Project, in conjunction with the University of Oxford.

“Flu complications lead to tens of thousands of hospital stays and an average of 600 deaths in the UK every year.

“The flu vaccine works better in some years than others.

“Across all age groups including children, the flu vaccine prevented 15-52 percent of flu cases between 2015-2020.”

Certain groups are eligible for a free NHS flu jab.

Anybody over the age of 65 can get a free flu vaccine at their local pharmacy or GP surgery.

Pregnant women, people living in care homes, and those with an underlying medical condition should consider having the flu jab for free.

Frontline health or social care workers are also eligible for the vaccine.

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