The annual influenza vaccination programme has become an important strategy for protecting public health by providing vulnerable people with immunisation against the virus strains likely to be the most prevalent over the coming year.
The best time to have the vaccination is each autumn, from the beginning of October, as this will provide protection throughout winter – the riskiest time. The vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective after administration.
Why is the influenza vaccine important?
Influenza (flu) can be caught in any period of the year, but it is especially prevalent in the winter months. Flu is much worse than the common cold and can cause patients to be totally incapacitated and bedridden for days. For some patients it can lead to increased mortality risk.
The symptoms include sudden onset of:
- A high temperature (fever) of 38 degrees or above
- Tiredness and weakness
- A headache
- General aches and pains
- A dry cough, sore throat and stuffy nose
Transmission is by droplets or direct contact with respiratory secretions, and infection spreads rapidly, especially in closed communities such as hospitals, prisons and care homes.
For healthy people, influenza is an unpleasant but self-limiting infection which lasts about a week. It can be complicated by bronchitis, secondary bacterial pneumonia or otitis media (in children).
Severe influenza can result in meningitis, encephalitis or meningoencephalitis, with serious illness and mortality.
Who is most at risk?
Those in the high-risk categories include neonates, older people, and people with underlying disease. The Department of Health recommends that the following groups of people should have the annual influenza vaccine:
- The main carer for a dependent elderly or disabled person
- Frontline health and social care workers
- Anyone aged 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- Individuals in long-stay residential care homes
- Anyone with an underlying medical condition, such as cardiac or respiratory disease, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, neurological conditions, learning disabilities or those who are seriously overweight.
Anyone in one of these high-risk groups is more likely to catch the flu and have serious complications, such as pneumonia. It is strongly recommended that these people have the flu vaccine every year to help protect them.
Potential adverse effects of flu vaccination
Mild fever and aching muscles can occur for a few days after the flu jab, and there may be soreness at the injection site. Serious side-effects are very rare. Most people can have the flu vaccine safely, but it must be avoided if a serious allergic reaction has occurred to a previous dose.
Ordering next year’s flu vaccine from Ashtons
The 2020/2021 flu vaccine from Ashtons is available to pre-order now, for both your patients and your staff.
Ordering now guarantees you our best price for winter 2020/2021, as we will pre-book your vaccines with the manufacturer when we place our order. There is no minimum order quantity.
We cannot guarantee stock for orders placed with us after pre-orders are closed. Alternatives will need to be sourced and stock is increasingly difficult to obtain as the winter progresses. Orders will be dispatched and invoiced in autumn 2020. We will contact you nearer the time to discuss your requirements and confirm your delivery schedule.
To place your pre-order for 2020/2021, please contact our Customer Service Team on 0345 222 3550 or email email@example.com for the pre-order form.