Fighting flu – winter vaccination is everybody’s business

Last year nearly 2,400 people had to be admitted to hospital with flu or flu-related complications. Find out how you can prevent the spread of flu.
Lady at reception in a health service

Both flu and pneumonia are potentially fatal and the NHS’s annual immunisation programme is undertaken every winter to protect those in our community who are most at risk. The flu vaccination is available free for over-65s, people with long-term health conditions, children in particular age groups, pregnant women, and health and care staff. Babies, over-65s and people with long-term illnesses are also eligible for the pneumonia vaccine.

Getting vaccinated doesn’t just protect the individual – it also protects the wider community by restricting the spread of illness.

As part of NHCP’s work to support better health and wellbeing for people with respiratory conditions, we’re making it a priority this year to focus on improving our vaccination uptake.

“We’ll do this by offering additional support to help GP practices vaccinate more people and explore opportunities to reach those most at risk of flu and pneumonia in different ways. We’ll also be launching a new and improved local communications campaign to help more people across Northamptonshire understand the importance of vaccination and the benefits it brings.

“If you work or volunteer in health and care, we all have a shared responsibility to protect the communities we serve by getting the flu jab. In the run-up to winter we’ll be working with all of our health and care organisations to take the flu jab to more staff and volunteers than ever before – so look out for opportunities in your own workplace and make sure you do your bit to help Northamptonshire stay well!”

David Williams, NHCP lead for respiratory care

Flu (influenza) is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. It can be very unpleasant, but you'll usually begin to feel better within about a week.

Some of the main symptoms of flu include:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • tiredness and weakness
  • headache
  • general aches and pains
  • a dry, chesty cough

You can help stop yourself catching flu or spreading it to others with good hygiene measures.

Always wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, as well as:

  • regularly cleaning surfaces such as your computer keyboard, telephone and door handles to get rid of germs
  • using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • putting used tissues in a bin as soon as possible

Who should get the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is routinely given on the NHS to:

  • adults 65 and over
  • people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
  • pregnant women
  • children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2019
  • children in primary school
  • frontline health or social care workers

Find out more about flu vaccines

If you’d like to get involved in helping to improve vaccination uptake in Northamptonshire please contact Colin Thompson at

Visit the NHCP website for more health and care updates

Looking for information about health and care?

Find advice and information to help you stay well and make decisions about your health and social care support.

Find advice and information