Flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by the flu virus. It spreads rapidly through small droplets coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.
Studies have shown that flu vaccines provide effective protection against the flu, although protection may not be complete and may vary between people. Protection from the vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains change over time. Therefore, new vaccines are made each year and people at risk of flu are encouraged to be vaccinated every year.
The flu vaccination is offered to people in at-risk groups. These people are at greater risk of developing serious complications if they catch flu, such as pregnant women and elderly people.
This is also known as the pneumo jab and it provides protection against pneumococcal infections.
Pneumococcal infections are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is sometimes referred to as the pneumococcus bacterium. There are many different strains (types) of the bacterium that can cause a number of conditions, including:
- pneumonia – inflammation (infection) of the lungs.
- septicaemia – a form of blood poisoning from an infection in the blood.
- meningitis – an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.
A pneumococcal infection can affect anyone. However, some groups of people have a higher risk of the infection developing into a serious health condition. These include:
- children who are under two years of age
- adults who are 65 years of age or over
- children and adults with certain chronic (long-term) health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney condition
Types of pneumococcal vaccine
There are two different types of pneumococcal vaccine:
- pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV): this is given to all children under two years of age as part of the childhood vaccination programme
- pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV): this is given to people who are 65 years of age or over, and people at high risk
For further information please review the NHS UK pneumococcal vaccine overview.
A vaccination to protect against tetanus is given as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.
The full course of the tetanus vaccination consists of five doses. The first three doses are given during early childhood. This is followed by two booster doses. The first booster dose is given at around four years of age. The second one is given 10 years later. After the full course, you should have lifelong immunity against tetanus. However, if you or your child has a deep wound, it’s best to get medical advice.
If you are not sure whether you’ve had the full course, for example because you were born in another country, please contact us directly for advice.
For further information please review the NHS UK tetanus overview.
The HPV Vaccine for girls aged 12 & 13
The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine is designed to protect against the two types of HPV that can cause 70% of the cases of cervical cancer. It does not protect you against all other types, so you will still need to start going for regular cervical screening when you are 25 years of age.
It is important that you get this protection early enough for it to be effective and the best time for that is in your early teenage years. The vaccine won’t protect you against other sexually transmitted infection. You will need three injections over a period of six months to get the best protection. You will be informed when your immunisation is due. The nurse will give you the injection in your upper arm.
For more information, call the free NHS helpline on 0800 22 44 88.
Information concerning your vaccination history can only be issued by the practice nurse or doctor. Reception staff are not qualified to release this information to you. As your vaccination status/history is very important, your records require checking by a clinician. To obtain your vaccination history please submit this request in writing to the practice nurse.
Please allow at least two working days for a reply and please be aware that there is a £10.00 charge for this service.