Can I have a flu jab if I have MS?
This year, all UK nations are expanding their flu vaccination programmes to encourage more people to have a flu jab and allow more people to have the flu jab for free. With Covid-19 circulating in the community, a surge in seasonal influenza (flu) cases could overwhelm hospitals and other NHS services.
Flu can be a serious or even fatal illness, and each year causes thousands of people to become very ill. Like Covid-19, it is a viral infection that is passed on through coughs and sneezes. If you have MS, you’re more at risk of becoming seriously ill from flu, even if you currently feel well.
By having the flu jab, you reduce your risk of having flu. If you do catch flu after having the vaccine, you are likely to have a milder illness. Having the flu jab also means you are less likely to have flu and Covid-19 at the same time, which could make you more unwell.
People with MS can have the flu jab for free every year. It is provided through pharmacies and GP surgeries, as well as workplaces and schools. You may be contacted by your surgery if you have been offered a flu jab in previous years, but you can also get in touch with them directly to book a flu jab for yourself.
Demand for a flu jab is high this year, and local services may need to prioritise the most vulnerable people for their early supplies of the vaccine. However, the vaccine is delivered to GPs and pharmacies in several batches, as it needs to be kept refrigerated, and the NHS is confident there is a sufficient quantity available.
Who can have the flu jab for free?
This year, the free vaccination is being offered to:
- adults aged 65 and over
- people with some medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS)
- the main carer of an older or disabled person
- people who were required to shield from coronavirus – and anyone they live with
- pregnant women
- children aged from two to 11
- health and social care workers.
If you have other questions or concerns about the flu jab and MS, you can read more details in our A-Z page on the flu jab. This page has information about the safety and effectiveness of the flu vaccine for people with MS, and details about the possible side effects you might notice.
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