Flu mythbusters

Graphic of man in 1980s outfit showing his flu vaccine badge on his arm

Your flu questions answered.

Why should health care workers be vaccinated against flu?

  • Having the flu vaccine protects you, your family and patients from flu. On average over 11,000 people die each year from flu. Some years it’s much more and many more are hospitalised each year.
  • Vaccination means less staff sickness from flu, helping the NHS to keep running effectively during a flu outbreak,
    when GPs and hospital services are particularly busy.
  • You can give flu to your family and those you care for even if you don’t have any symptoms. Staff who aren’t vaccinated may pass on flu to vulnerable patients and colleagues.
  • Patients feel safer and are more likely to get vaccinated when they know the people who care for them are

How effective is the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine will help prevent you getting the flu and is your best protection against the virus. It will not stop all flu viruses but if you do get flu after vaccination, it’s likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been.

How long does the flu vaccine take to become effective?

It takes between 10 and 14 days for your immune system to respond fully after you’ve had the flu jab.

Can the flu vaccine cause flu?

No. The vaccine does not contain any live viruses, so it cannot cause flu. You may get a slight temperature, and
your arm may feel a bit sore where you had the injection. Other reactions are rare.

I had the flu vaccination last year. Do I need to have it again?

Yes. The viruses that cause flu can change every year, which means the flu (and the vaccine) this year may be different from last year.

Why is it particularly important to get the flu vaccine this year?

With COVID-19 in circulation it’s especially important to get the flu vaccine this year. The flu jab won’t protect you against coronavirus, but it will help stop you spreading flu to your patients, many of whom are vulnerable to both.