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Seasonal Influenza

Individuals are most likely to catch influenza in the winter months. The season runs from October to the end of February occasionally into March, peaking in December/January.

Seasonal influenza can affect anyone. It is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract. There are three types of influenza virus: A, B and C. Influenza A and influenza B are responsible for most clinical illness.

It is difficult for an individual to develop long term immunity to influenza as the make up of the viral strains change slightly on a regular basis. So vaccination against seasonal influenza has to be undertaken annually.

For more information view:

The government resource Immunisation against infectious disease - 'The Green Book'

In the United Kingdom immunisation for influenza for certain groups including ‘at risk’ patients is provided on the NHS and in Scotland the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) will send a letter detailing which groups are eligible for vaccination. Letters from the CMO are available here

Egg allergy isn’t always an absolute contraindication for receiving flu vaccine. The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology website for advice on managing individuals with egg allergy

NES has an on line training course covering general aspects of immunisation

An e learning course for healthcare professionals undertaking immunisation is available. Registration is required to undertake this course.

NHS Inform has key patient information on all types of immunisation

GGC Influenza PGD Appendix 1 (link to PGD page) lists latex and ovalbumin content of vaccines

 Key points for community pharmacy

  • Encourage at risk patients to attend for vaccination
  • Advise on management of symptoms
  • Some pharmacies offer private flu vaccination clinics