Why is it important to have my flu jab?

Flu is an unpredictable virus that can be unpleasant, but if you’re otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own in about a week.

It can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups, including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.

Certain people are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.


Is the FLU Jab Safe

You may experience a mild fever and aching muscles for a couple of days after having the vaccine and your arm may be a little sore.

Side effects of the child nasal spray vaccine can commonly include a runny or blocked nose, a headache, tiredness and some loss of appetite.

It is very rare that the flu vaccines cause serious side effects

Why are you doing things differently this year?

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic social distancing is vital to minimise the spread of the virus and therefore it will not be possible to offer vaccinations at your GP practice in the usual way.

There is a risk of a second peak of COVID 19.  If we vaccinate as many people as we can, as quickly as we can, this will help to protect the wider NHS against the normal winter flu pressures.

When there is a COVID 19 vaccination developed, we will be in a position to deliver that separately to the flu programme.

Who is eligible for the FLU Jab?

The flu vaccine is offered free of charge to people who are at risk. This helps protect them from catching flu and developing serious complications.

You should have the flu vaccine if you:

  • are 65 years old or over
  • are pregnant
  • have certain medical conditions
  • are living in a long-stay residential care home or another long-stay care facility
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or you’re the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
  • live with someone who is at high risk of coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list) or you expect to be with them on most days over winter

 Later in the year, the flu vaccine may be given to 50-64-year-olds. More information will be available later in the autumn. Your GP surgery will be in touch if you are eligible.

However, if you are aged 50-64 in an at-risk group, you should not delay having your flu vaccine.

Frontline health and social care workers are also eligible to receive the flu vaccine. It is your employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for this vaccine.

Who should not have the FLU Jab?

Very few people are unable to have the flu vaccine but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction requiring hospital admission.

Some flu vaccines are made using eggs.  If you have a diagnosed egg allergy then please let your surgery know when you are booking your appointment. We will be able to make alternative arrangements for you.

(If you’re ill on the day it’s best to delay your flu vaccination until you have recovered. There’s no need to delay your flu vaccine if you have a minor illness with no fever, such as a cold.

It’s fine to have the flu vaccine while you’re taking antibiotics.

Children aged 2 and over are usually given the vaccine as a nasal spray.

How do I make an appointment?

Your GP practice will be in touch via text message or letter when the vaccine is in
stock. The easiest way to book your appointment is via the NHS App which can be accessed through your smartphone or tablet. If you cannot access the NHS App please call your GP practice and they will advise you.

I can travel by car

You will need a ‘drive-through’ appointment.

This will take place at the Northern Echo Arena (Mowden Park Rugby Club) on Neasham Road, DL2 1DL.

To best manage the flow of traffic , please approach from the town centre. If you are coming from out of town, please drive past the arena to the roundabout   (Neasham Road, Geneva Road, Parkside) and turn around there.

Please come as close to your appointment time as possible. This will minimise queuing. If you arrive more than 15 minutes early for your appointment you will be asked to return at your appointment time.

Please wear a face covering when you attend for your appointment.  Do not attend if you have symptoms of Coronavirus (new continuous cough or high temperature or a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell). Seek 111 guidance.

When you approach the vaccination stations you will be asked to remove your coat and expose your arm from your shoulder to your elbow.

When it is your turn you will be directed to a vaccination station and you will drive into a covered space. Please turn your engine off and wind down your window.  The nurse will then give you further instructions.

If you and your family are registered at the same GP practice and are eligible for the flu vaccine we would advise that you all come together in the same car but everyone will need their own appointment.  Strictly, NO APPOINTMENT, NO VACCINE!

When you leave please turn left and use the roundabout (A66, Neasham Road) to turn around. 


I can't travel by car

You will need a ‘walk-through’ appointment.

This will take place at St Cuthbert’s Church Hall, just off the Market square. The buses can drop you off on Tubwell Row or Prebend Row which are a short walk away.  There will be a one way system in place.

Please wear a face covering when you attend for your appointment.  Do not attend if you have symptoms of Coronavirus (new continuous cough or high temperature or a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell). Seek 111 guidance.

Please attend as close to your appointment as possible to help us maintain social distancing. You may be asked to return if you are more than 15 minutes early.

Once you are inside and in the queue, please take off your coat and expose your arm from your shoulder to your elbow. This will speed up the process.

When it is your turn you will be directed to a vaccination station. The nurse will then give you further instructions.

Click here for Walk-Through Video

What is Herd Immunity?

When there are enough people in a community vaccinated against a disease including Flu, it can make it more difficult for the disease to spread to susceptible individuals who have not yet been or cannot be vaccinated.

 The top: outbreak within a community where there are fewer people infected (shown in red) and the rest are healthy but unimmunised (shown in blue); the illness spreads freely through the population.

The middle box shows a population where a small number have been immunised (shown in yellow); those not immunized become infected while those immunised do not.

In the bottom box, a large proportion of the population have been immunised; this prevents the illness from spreading significantly, including to unimmunised people. In the first two examples, most healthy unimmunised people become infected, whereas in the bottom example only one fourth of the healthy unimmunised people become infected.


I am Housebound

To be classed as housebound you are only able to leave your house for emergencies. If you are able to visit a hairdresser, for example, then you would not be counted as housebound.
If you are truly housebound please let your GP surgery know. Someone will be in touch to arrange a home visit instead.

Shielding and Vulnerable Patients

Attending the drive through is the safest way for you to get your flu jab this year.  The COVID 19 virus lives for longer inside and is more likely to be transmitted by someone coming into your home than by driving to an outdoor venue.  If you don’t have access to a car please call your GP surgery to discuss the best way for you to get the flu jab.

Care Home Residents

Consent for vaccination has been sought by your GP surgery throughout August and September.

The Multidisciplinary Team who usually visits your care home will deliver your vaccination in October. Our aim is to vaccinate all care home residents by the end of October.

50 - 64 Year olds

Please note that people in the 50-64-year old age group will not be vaccinated until November and December, providing there is sufficient vaccine, and no appointments will be offered for this age group until then. This is to ensure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated first. If you are 50-64 and you are in one of the other groups which is eligible for the flu vaccination, for example you have a health condition which puts you at risk from the flu, you will be invited earlier.

I am a carer

Where care providers have previously provided their staff with an occupational health led flu vaccination programme, we would encourage you continue with this again this year.  Some Community Pharmacies are able to come to the care homes, for a small fee, to give care staff the vaccines there the advice is to contact pharmacies local to you and ask whether they do provide that service.


For those care staff who do not have access to an occupational health service you will be able to access a flu jab, for free, from your GP practice or from a community pharmacy.  Please take along your work ID badge to the appointment to confirm your eligibility for a free vaccine.

There are limited supplies of vaccines and this year we have seen drastically higher demand, so we would encourage you to make an appointment as soon as possible.  You may be added to a waiting list for a vaccine.


You can book an appointment for our PCN drive through or walk through services on the NHS App or by calling your practices.  Each community pharmacy has its own arrangement, many are walk ins but I would advise you to call first to avoid disappointment.


Care staff eligible for a free vaccine:

  • Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.
  • Health and social care staff employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider and;
  • Health care staff employed by a voluntary managed hospice provider
  • Health and social care workers employed through Direct Payments and/or Personal Health Budgets (such as personal assistants) to delivery domiciliary care to patients and service users.