PMRGCAuk
7,062 members11,226 posts

Does being on steroids entitle us to a NHS flu jab or not?

The NHS website states the following as an entitlement to a free flu jab :

"a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medication such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy".

However, when I asked my GP yesterday she said "The system has not flagged you up as entitled". When I said that I am immune suppressed due to steroids, she still did not concede that I met this criteria. I am 58 years old so do not qualify on age grounds.

I think it's rather obvious that I qualify! How do I convince them? Any ideas?

15 Replies
oldestnewest

psnc.org.uk/services-commis...

This link should give you all the information you need. I popped into our local pharmacy to make an appointment for my mum to have a free flu jab and I asked the pharmacist about eligibility for me. I'm eligible because of asthma, but they probably consider eligibility under immunosuppression to be more related to cancer/chemotherapy/HIV/transplant, but it's worth asking the pharmacist whether they would include steroid therapy.

Reply

I am also too young for the priority group and was vaccinated only because of a compromised immune system. I was not charged. I think your GP is mistaken. Flu would hit us as hard as other vulnerable groups.

1 like
Reply

Hello, frustrating it may be, just being on Pred doesn't necessarily put people up there with conditions like HIV etc listed in the previous reply. It'll be down to dose and your GP's discretion. PMR and GCA themselves don't come up as conditions that qualify, but I would guess that if you had major vessel involvement, the GP might say yes. However, if one is immunosuppressed, the response to the vaccine may not be as good as it could be anyway. The vaccine is for specific influenza strains and not for other flu-like infections and colds, which can also cause pneumonias by the back door, so extra measures are worth taking.

Buying the vaccine isn't expensive if you have to go down that route. You can reduce risk by avoiding large groups when the flu season gets under way, avoiding touching your face afterwards eg eyes/nose and hand washing after and while being out, especially after touching door knobs, hand rails, touch pads etc.

4 likes
Reply

Talking about handwashing, I'm constantly amazed by the number of people who come out of toilet cubicles and walk straight out without going anywhere near the sinks to wash their hands! It's just as bad when people don't use soap. The bugs don't get rinsed off by water alone. They then open the door, contaminating the door handle... I usually use my sleeve to protect myself from their bugs! Being a nurse, I'm quite hot on handwashing and will stop anyone in my hospital who doesn't wash their hands, although most people are pretty good as the Infection Control Department are usually lurking....

3 likes
Reply

Yes, only last week at the hospital loos I saw an immaculately dressed and made up lady water her fingertips, flap them in the air daintily and walk out while I was still in the soap phase! I can see why the queen wears white gloves in public! Might do the same.

1 like
Reply

Haha! I saw a nurse do the same (!) after going to the loo following an Infection Control lecture on handwashing... I asked her if there was a problem with her soap dispenser and did she want to use the one I'd used... "No, it's OK thanks". We were just about to go off and have a buffet lunch and I confronted her about using the loo, handwashing and food handling. She just smiled sweetly and walked away....

The Queen has the right idea! No wonder she keeps relatively well, although she has caught the odd nasty cold and was admitted to hospital with D&V, which I'm sure was probably Norovirus.

1 like
Reply

Well said ClairJG 😵🤗

Reply

Thanks everyone. I think I will have to pay again. Worth a try and a bit frustrating.

Reply

Hi I had my flu jab last week. I made my appt with the nurse and told her I was on steroids hence my request to have one

Reply

Yes! I have been sent for the past two years , since starting steroids and it is free of charge.

Reply

I have been advised to have it by gp so have for the last 2 years, now on leflunomide too and Rheumy booked for me to have pneumonia vaccine too - I have pmr/gca and under 60 years old.

Hope that helps

2 likes
Reply

Thank you for your reply. I will have to ask another doctor as the one I saw last week said "no".

1 like
Reply

I don't know if this is a nationwide offer but I noticed my nearest branch of Boots is offering free flu jabs to anybody regardless of entitlement, so that might be worth exploring. I didn't take up the offer because, being over 65, I'm entitled to have the jab at my GP's.

Reply

I'm sure our New Zealand NHS is comparable to yours (Britain?). It is free for

Pregnant women (any stage of pregnancy)

Anyone aged 65 years or over

Children aged 6 months to under 5 years who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness

Anyone aged 6 months to under 65 years with any of the following medical conditions:

Chronic heart problems, excluding high cholesterol or high blood pressure if they have not caused problems with other organs

Cerebrovascular disease

Chronic breathing or lung problems, excluding asthma if regular preventative therapy is not required

Diabetes

Chronic kidney disease

Cancer that is not in remission, excluding skin cancers if not invasive

Other conditions (such as autoimmune disease, immune suppression, immune deficiency, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), transplant recipients, neuromuscular and central nervous system diseases, cochlear implant, error of metabolism at risk of major metabolic decompensation, pre- or post-splenectomy, Down syndrome, haemoglobinopathies and children on long-term aspirin).

My doctor and rheumatologist said it was important to have one - and I am on prednisone.

1 like
Reply

I have been getting the flu jab since my late 40’s, because of ASTHMA, but ONLY when I was out on a steroid inhaler. The ventolin inhaler does not qualify for the flu jab but ANY steroid inhaler does, I was told by the oractioner Nurse years ago. So STEROIDS do qualify you for the free flu jab. Maybe a call to your doctor would be best.. I guess it all depends on who you get, who you speak to and what they know..

1 like
Reply

You may also like...