Vaccinations for Flu
After a very pleasant summer it hardly seems possible that we need to start thinking about the colder months ahead and importantly how we can ensure that we stay healthy during the winter months. One of the diseases that can affect you at this time of year is Flu and getting an immunisation can help you avoid this potentially serious infection.
Academy Medical Centre are offering vaccination to all eligible patients. Appointments will be available to book from Wednesday 16 September 2020.
Eligible patients are those who are over 65, those who have increased risk factors such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, neurological disease, and those with a weakened immune system. Patients who were shielding during lockdown and members of their household are also eligible for flu vaccination this year. If you are in doubt as to whether you are entitled to the flu vaccine, please contact the surgery.
Patients aged 55 to 64 years will be vaccinated in Phase 2 of the flu programme in December - further details to follow (please see our news page for the latest updates).
You can make your flu vaccination appointment in 2 ways:
- phone the practice on 01307 462316 and select option 7
- via our online appointment booking - please sign up and register if you haven't already registered:
- Go to academy-medical-centre.appointments-online.co.uk and choose "I want to sign up". Once you have submitted your details we will email you your log in information, or you can contact the surgery by phone or email so we can provide you with this.
- Once you are registered you can log on with your username and password at academy-medical-centre.appointments-online.co.uk by choosing the option "I want to login".
A video explaining the registration process and how to book online is available on our YouTube channel.
Please do not attend the surgery to make an appointment as we are only admitting patients to the premises if they have an appointment. No drop-in service will be available this year and you must make an appointment in advance.
What to expect when you get your vaccination
The following video explains what to expect when you visit the practice to get your vaccination. Please view it before attending your appointment.
Flu appointments are safe. Getting your flu vaccine is one of the most important reasons for leaving your home. Strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place during vaccination.
If you are eligible due to a health condition, the risk of getting seriously ill with the flu virus is greater than the risk of going to get your vaccine.
What is Flu and is it really that dangerous?
The Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, hospitalization, and at times can lead to death.
Outbreaks of flu occur every year during the winter months and usually peak between December and March. Every year the virus is different and affects people differently. Flu is spread though small droplets of saliva from coughing or sneezing. It can also be picked up from surfaces such as door handles through unwashed hands.
Even healthy people can spread the virus as symptoms usually appear 2 days after catching the virus and those with the virus are infectious for up to a week.
Flu can present with many different symptoms such as Fever, Cough, Sore throat, Runny or stuffy nose, Aching body, Headache, Chills, Tiredness, Diarrhoea, Vomiting, Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, Sudden dizziness, Confusion.
Most people recover completely from flu within a few weeks however for some people the infection is more serious and can lead to complications. These include pneumonia, ear and sinus infection and the worsening of chronic health problems such as heart disease, asthma and Diabetes. You are more likely to develop complications if you are older or already suffer from a chronic health condition.
Therefore, flu is a potentially dangerous virus, which can be easily protected against!
How can I protect myself?
Annual immunisation against flu is a very important health protection measure and is available from your GP surgery for those who are over 65 and those who have increased risk factors such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, neurological disease, and those with a weakened immune system. Flu vaccination is particularly important this year as we are in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and vaccination against flu will help relieve the strain on NHS resources. Patients who were shielding during lockdown and members of their household are also eligible for flu vaccination this year. If you are in doubt as to whether you are entitled to the flu vaccine, please contact the surgery.
Children aged 5 to 17 will be offered the flu vaccination in school and children aged 2-5 will be able to get this vaccine from the Child Immunisation Team. The good news for children is that there is a special vaccine that does not involve an injection but is given with a spray of vaccine into the nose.
Getting a Flu vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect yourself against this disease. It takes around 2 weeks after the vaccine to develop immunity so these clinics enable us to reach more of our patients as soon as possible after the vaccine becomes available. It is important to get vaccinated as early as you can to ensure you are protected.
How does the vaccine work?
The Flu virus changes slightly every year and so every year a new vaccination is produced to protect against the strains of flu which will be circulating within the UK. The Flu injection consists of deactivated flu virus; therefore the immunisation cannot give you Flu. The vaccine causes the body's immune system to make antibodies, preparing you to fight off the flu virus. If you are pregnant when you receive the vaccination, your child will also be protected within its early months.
Once vaccinated you will be protected for the whole flu season but as Flu strains change each year, you must ensure you are vaccinated every year to ensure you can fight off the Flu virus.
Remember: Getting vaccinated early gives you the best protection against Flu this winter. Please book an appointment if you are eligible.