Flu vaccination programme 2020/21

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For most people flu is a very unpleasant illness, but in some cases and for those in ‘at risk’ groups it can be very dangerous and sometimes fatal. That is why the PHA has a wide-ranging vaccination programme which helps protect groups at particular risk in our community.

Vaccine eligibility

This year the flu vaccination programme has been expanded to help reduce the spread of flu and lower flu-related hospital admissions at a time when the health service is under strain as a result of COVID-19. It will also help reduce the risk of contracting flu and coronavirus at the same time.

You are eligible if you are:

  • aged 65 or over;
  • under 65 with an underlying health condition;
  • pregnant;
  • a pre-school child (aged 2-4 years);
  • a pupil at school (Years 1-8);
  • a health and social care worker;
  • living with someone who was asked to shield.

The flu virus

The flu virus spreads through the air when people cough and sneeze without covering their nose and mouth. Because young children don’t always cover their noses or mouths, they can spread the flu virus very quickly, making them ‘super-spreaders’, so it is important they get the vaccine to help protect them and those around them, including vulnerable members of their family and the wider community.

Each year the strains of flu in circulation change, so new vaccines are formulated to reflect this. That is why it is so important that everyone who falls into an eligible category gets the vaccine annually – if you got it last year, it won’t protect you this year. Also, while it won’t protect you from COVID-19, it may stop people getting both illnesses and putting strain on health and social care services, not to mention reducing their risk to their own health.

Everyone eligible for vaccination should make themselves aware of their own GP surgery’s flu vaccination arrangements particularly with extra measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 this year such as restrictions on numbers who can meet in one place and social distancing.

Seasonal flu public information campaign and resources

The PHA is running a public information campaign to raise awareness of the seriousness of flu and to encourage early uptake of the free seasonal flu vaccine by all those who are eligible.

The campaign, ‘Just’ the flu? highlights the potential complications that can develop among at risk groups as a result of not being vaccinated against flu, such as, pneumonia, bronchitis, even death.

A number of resources have been developed to support the campaign. These are available for you to download and share across your communication channels to further promote the importance of getting the seasonal flu vaccine.

Seasonal flu vaccination resources

‘Just’ the flu? A4 poster

This resource highlights the seriousness of flu and the vaccine is the best protection for you and those around you.

Download, print and display this resource to encourage uptake of the seasonal flu vaccine.

Also available as an A3 version

‘Just’ the flu? A4 poster (pregnancy)

This resource highlights the importance of getting the flu vaccine when you are pregnant to protect you and your baby.

Download, print and display this resource to encourage uptake of the seasonal flu vaccine among pregnant women.

Also available as an A3 version

‘Just the flu’ A4 poster (GP)

This resource highlights the seriousness of flu and the vaccine is the best protection for you and those around you.

Download, print and display this resource to encourage uptake of the seasonal flu vaccine.

Also available as an A3 version

‘Just the flu’ social media animations

Download and share these social media assets across your communication channels to encourage uptake of the seasonal flu vaccine this winter.

#1 Underlying health conditions

#2 Over 65?

#3 Children

#4 Pregnant

#5 Underlying health conditions ( additional version). 

‘Just’ the flu campaign newsletter

This newsletter provides information of the campaign aim, key messages and further details on the mass media advertising. Please download and share to encourage awareness and uptake of the season flu vaccination programme. 

Seasonal flu vaccination resources

Flu is more serious than you think leaflet

Flu is more serious than you think poster

Vaccinations during COVID-19

Protecting your child against flu: Vaccination for your school child

Protecting your child against flu: Vaccination for your toddler or pre-school child

Flu is more serious than you think: Pregnant women
 

Animation: Vaccinating children is the first line of defence against flu

 

 

Animation: Flu facts - what you need to know for at risk groups

 

 

Animation: Flu facts – the importance of healthcare workers getting vaccinated

 

 

Health professional advice

Seasonal changes in the flu virus occur and it is for this reason that annual vaccination against flu is recommended in certain groups who are either at risk of the complications of flu or at risk of passing flu unto people at risk of developing complications.

Every year the Chief Medical Officer in Northern Ireland issues a letter outlining who is eligible to receive the flu vaccine under the seasonal influenza programme.

The Health Protection Team of the Public Health Agency develop materials for healthcare workers delivering the seasonal influenza vaccine programme and this includes training slides, a factsheet about seasonal flu vaccines, leaflets posters and guidelines on infection control and data collection.