Flu Jab


Just wondered if anyone who normally gets a flu jab this year has not been called for one. I have just been to the GP to collect a repeat prescription and asked about them. They confirmed that I have fallen outside the criteria this year, but I could still get one when everyone else has been if there are any less. I checked the NHS site and this would appear to be correct. My asthma isn't severe and is very well controlled.

I suppose I feel mixed - disappointed that my comfort blanket of the flu jab is not there, but pleased that I am OK to manage without!


20 Replies

  • Tell them you need a jab

    I am not that serious and normally under control but my GP gives me the flu jab every year. Ask someone else, like a GP or asthma nurse, NOT a receptionist.

    If you have asthma you need a jab.

  • I would have thought you still qualified for a flu jab even if your asthma is well controlled. My husband had 2 bouts of bronchitis years ago and was diagnosed with mild asthma about 7 yrs ago - he hasnt had any medication for the asthma for a long time but he still gets a flu jab.

    I would definitely ask your GP about it.

  • I had a letter from my GP asking me to come and get my flu vaccination so I dont think the advice has changed. I see what you mean about the NHS website, it says to have it if you have severe asthma but how are we supposed to know what severe is in this context? I dont regard my asthma as severe although it is not particularly well controlled.

  • I have just had my flu jab for the third year running . This is the first year that i have been officially diagnosed with asthma

  • Thank you for your replies. I think the interpretations of the NHS advice seems to vary between PCTs. I have had the flu jab every year since 1995 and swine flu too.

    I am very happy with my dr and don't want to course any friction. I used to post regularly but sadly and very suddenly my lovely husband died (very rare heart failure). The Drs have been extraordinarily wonderful and considerate. Any problems and I am dealt with swiftly and told not to think I am being a nuisance. I saw my GP on Friday and she as running late as usual - as she always gives patients more time than is usually necessary. I should have mentioned the flu jab and may be she was going to but she was more concerned about my emotional well being as we have just passed the 3 year anniversary.

    As I was quizzing the receptionist as to whether or not I had been sent a letter the asthma nurse was walking around with her head down (I hope listening and taking everything in). I was a little surprised and said I didn't understand as I always had a jab. They said they had differentiated on the number of episodes I had had over the year. Well I'm on SMART so I sort everything out myself and only go when I have an infection - which I am very good at spotting. I can go a year with no infection but on average I have one or two chest infections a year which mean anti bis and pred (like now).

    They have advised me to come back at the end of October and my request will be referred to the GP again. I think that there will be one or two in my position in the practice and that being a patient patient is the right thing to do. I don't want to upset anyone. I will buy one as at last resort - I'm a teacher so I need to!!! I will discuss the matter with the Asthma nurse at my annual review next year.

    Thanks for all the import.

    Judi x

  • Good to se you back Oboelady.

    Don't think I have ever been called for a flu jab? However, it has been checked and usually given when I'm in for an appt anyway or I have it at work (NHS).

    It does appear to be down to local decision as to who is eligible. Here, it seems to be anyone at risk i.e.

    ""a heart problem, a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis or emphysema, a kidney disease, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment) ... "" amongst others with no differentiation within.

    Asthma UK advice is 'all those aged 6 months or over in the clinical risk group (this includes people with asthma who require continuous or repeated use of a steroid preventer inhaler or oral steroids or

    those that have had asthma attacks requiring hospital admission' as seen here asthma.org.uk/all_about_ast...

  • I was wondering that too but my practice booked me and wouldn't let me argue (believe me I tried, I hate needles) so I think it does just depend on how strict your practice is and I guess how many people take it up that should.

  • Hi oboelady, love the name! I play the oboe too and have amazing PFs as a result. Very sorry to hear about your husband.

    Re the flu jab, it must vary! I was confused by the NHS site as I am not severe either. However I am also not well controlled and I think my asthma came back because of having swine flu so I definitely think I should be having it as another bout could make things worse. I didn't need to persuade the practice though, just asked the receptionist and she booked me in without even asking why I needed it! I assume the nurse, who is also the asthma nurse though I've never seen her, will ask. At my practice they are good about you having it but you have to be proactive and ask.

  • We've checked this and believe that anyone with asthma who is on continuous or repeated inhaled steroids is considered at risk and should get the flu vaccination - even if you are well controlled. We think the confusion may have arisen from conflicting information published by the Department of Health. I have just emailed the Chief Medical Officer to alert her to the problem. Thanks for raising it.

  • Thanks Neil

  • Thank you to all who responded to my enquiry - it has been lovely to have your comments, support and kind words.

    I am going to do as the GPs have asked for now, and follow this up over the next 12 months on my review.

    I have such a wonderful relationship with my GP and on reflection I wish to keep it that way.

    I will keep you all posted.

    Kind regards


  • Just had confirmation from the Chief Medical Officer:

    'Thank you for your email dated 07 October 2011 to the Chief Medical Officer regarding asthma patients and the seasonal influenza vaccine. This has been passed to the immunisation branch for reply. Whilst a number of public facing documents may carry different wording, the formal guidance to clinicians is provided in the influenza chapter of Immunisation against infectious disease (‘the Green Book’). This indicates that those with asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of inhaled or systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission should be offered influenza vaccine.'

    So if you are on regular inhaled steroids or have had a hospital admission for asthma, you are entitled to get the flu vaccine.

  • I just rang my GP to book in for my jab, but they don't have any more sessions at the minute (I guess, reading between the lines, that they've run out!) so to ring back in a few weeks. Hmm few weeks will take us to November ....... I'll be getting mine done at work instead then! I'm not hanging about waiting a few weeks when I can have it done at work tomorrow AND get an extra days holiday for the pleasure!

    In answer to the original message, I didn't get 'called' for an apponitment as such, but was at the GP with an asthma exacerbation and asked if I'd had one yet, and should get booked in.

  • Ahh, extra day's holiday, remember you saying that now. Nice!

    I was good and booked mine for Friday, but when I rang the asthma nurse today for some advice she suggested I come in for an asthma check this week and said 'while we're at it, can do your flu jab' so am using the appt for both - should save some time!

  • Thank you

    THank you all for your replies to this post. You have all been so kind and supportive.

    I will return to the GP and let you know what the decision is. I am also contacting a friend who is GP to find out what the PCT ruling is on flu jabs.

    Will be back in touch shortly - am busy preparing for a job interview - I have trained as a teacher since my husband died. Emm hence the desperate need for a flu jab!

    With heartful thanks for all the support


  • philomena, i always do my yearly asthma check and flu jab at the same appointment. i haven't booked it yet, am hoping to get it on 27 / 28 october in half term

  • it's a slightly different system where i am (France). normally it is the health insurance coverers (free for me as a student needing a grant for financial difficulties) that send you out the paper/prescription. you then go to the chemist to pick it up, and make an appointment with a nurse to have it done. but i heard on the news that the papers went out two weeks ago, and i still havent received mine. so i think ill be taking a trip to the health insurance coverers office pretty soon...

  • btw, i had the swine flu jab in january 2010, and then caught it anyway in january 2011, even though supposedly the one jab still lasted? also, my parents really dissaprove of my getting the flu vaccine(s) as they both had the experience when they were younger of having it, first the jab gave them really bad flu, and then they got really bad flu again anyway a few weeks or months later. so exactly how reliable are these things anyxay?

  • I got mine today, I think it's worth it. If I get the flu so be it, but at least I know that I'm doing everything I humanly can to avoid it.

  • Update

    Hello All

    Finally spoke to the surgery again today. First of all I was told that I would now have to wait until the end of November. I asked what the criteria was for the jab and was told a list of things which included taking an inhaled steroid. I said I am taking one called symbicort - the response no thats not one! Yes I said it is. Well she said I'll ask the duty doctor. 5 hours later phone rings. Hello Mrs Watson the doctor says yes you can have a jab! My response - I thought he would say that!

    Going on Wednesday morning and am so relieved. Hopefully will be seeing the Asthma nurse and if I do I will ask why I have had to go around the houses to get this jab. I suspect she will simply say I went under the radar!

    Thanks again for all your support.

    Judi x

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