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Free flu jab age: How old do you have to be to get the free NHS flu jab?

Flu season poses a bigger threat that ever this year as the UK grapples with rising coronavirus cases. Officials fear a harsh flu season – which is normally at its peak in December and January – could cripple the NHS when combined with a fresh surge in cover cases. Thousands of people die from the flu each year – between September 2019 and February 2020, almost 8,000 people died from flu in England. So it’s crucial to get the flu jab if you’re eligible.

In July 2020, the Government announced plans to double the number of people who receive the influenza jab this year – meaning up to 30 million could be vaccinated.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he did not want a flu outbreak “at the same time as dealing with coronavirus”.

He added: “We have bought more flu vaccine than ever before.

“In fact we have changed the law so that more people can administer the jab. We want pharmacists, nurses and GPs to be able to administer the jab.”

How old do you have to be to get the free NHS flu jab?

You should have the flu jab if you are 65-years-old or over.

This means you’re eligible for the jab if you are 65 and older on March 31, 2021 – in other words, if you were born on or before 31 March 1956.

So if you’re currently 64 but will be 65 on March 31, 2021, you still qualify for the free vaccine.

Anyone aged 65 and over will usually be offered the adjuvanted trivalent vaccine, which contains an adjuvant that helps the immune system make a stronger response to the vaccine.

However, those aged 65-plus are not the only ones able to get the vaccine.

If you are aged 50 to 64 and are in an ‘at-risk’ group from the coronavirus, you should not delay having your flu jab.

Children can also get the flu vaccine – including:

  • children over the age of 6 months with a long-term health condition
  • children aged 2 and 3 years on 31 August 2020 (that is, born between 1 September 2016 and 31 August 2018)
  • children in primary school
  • children in year 7 (secondary school)

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The NHS flu vaccine guidance says: “Studies have shown that the flu vaccine will help prevent you getting the flu.

“It will not stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary, so it’s not a 100% guarantee that you’ll be flu-free.

“But if you do get flu after vaccination, it’s likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been.

“Over time, protection from the injected flu vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains often change.

“New flu vaccines are produced each year, which is why people advised to have the flu vaccine need it every year.”

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