Influenza or flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness which causes high temperature, fever and headache. Most healthy people will recover fully after a few days but flu can be very dangerous for some people, such as the elderly or the immunocompromised. The NHS targets vulnerable groups and recommends that they have an annual flu vaccination.

Achieving high levels of flu vaccination uptake is not only important for the health and wellbeing of patients, staff and the general public, it is also a vital element in NHS winter planning to reduce the burden of sickness caused by seasonal flu on health and social care services. For the 2020/21 flu season the vaccination programme is expected to be more important than ever as the UK faces the effects of seasonal flu co-circulating alongside the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

This topic covers the background of flu vaccination, the at-risk groups included in the NHS programme, and its expansion to cover children and those at risk from Covid-19. Related information is included in the topic on Vaccinations and Immunisations.

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