Winter flu jab service

At Well, we offer a winter flu jab (vaccination) service at our community pharmacies.

Considering a flu jab? Find out more about flu jab eligibility and why it could be the right choice for you.

What is the flu?

The flu, short for influenza, is an illness caused by an infection from the influenza virus. The virus infects your nose, throat and sometimes your lungs. 

The flu is highly contagious and spreads easily between people, particularly in the winter months as the influenza virus lives and grows best in cold and dry conditions. 

What are the symptoms of the flu?

The flu can cause symptoms similar to a cold, but they tend to come on faster and be more severe. Symptoms will vary by person, but common symptoms of the flu include:

  • Headaches
  • A sore throat
  • A stuffy or runny nose
  • A persistent, dry cough
  • Chills and sweats
  • A high temperature (fever)
  • Aching muscle
  • Tiredness
  • A loss of appetite 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling and being sick 

Is the flu dangerous?

Although it can lay even the fittest person out for a few days, most people recover from the flu in around one week without any complications. 

However, the flu can be more serious for some people. It can also cause dangerous complications, like pneumonia and heart problems, and be fatal in severe cases. 

People who are most at risk of serious flu complications include:

  • Adults over 65
  • Children under five
  • Pregnant women
  • People with a chronic condition, like HIV/AIDS, asthma, diabetes, and heart and lung diseases 
  • People who are routinely exposed to the influenza virus, like healthcare workers

What is the flu jab?

The flu jab is a safe and effective vaccine that protects you against the flu. It’s given as a single injection, usually into your upper arm. 

The vaccine contains small amounts of the inactivated flu virus. This won’t give you the flu but will allow your immune system to develop the antibodies to kill the virus. If the virus tries to infect you following the flu jab, your body will already have the defences to stop it.

Who can have the flu jab?

You can have the NHS flu vaccine for free if you:

  • Are 50 years old or older
  • Are pregnant 
  • Have a chronic health condition 
  • Live in long-stay residential care
  • Are the main carer for someone who is vulnerable to the flu or who would be at risk if you got sick, and/or you receive a carer's allowance
  • Live with someone who is at a greater risk of catching coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
  • Are a frontline health or social care worker

If you don’t belong to one of the categories above, you can still have a private flu jab. The flu can be a miserable illness to catch and a flu jab is a simple and effective way to make sure you have a flu-free winter. 

Where can I find out more?

Your question may be covered in our FAQs about the flu below. 

If your questions aren’t covered below, or you would like to talk to someone face-to-face, then our pharmacists are more than happy to answer any questions you have about the flu jab. Find your nearest Well Pharmacy

Where can I find a vaccination clinic near me?

We operate 760 local pharmacies across the UK, most of which offer the flu jab.

Find your nearest Well Pharmacy

Flu FAQs

When is the flu season?

In the UK, the flu season usually lasts from December to March.

Why does the flu strike in the winter?

Why the flu strikes in winter used to be a mystery. Common theories to explain flu season were that people had weakened immune systems in the winter months, or that people spent more time indoors with each other and spread the virus more easily. More recent scientific research has revealed the real reason is that the influenza virus survives for longer and spreads better in cold and dry conditions. 

When is the best time to have the flu jab?

Aim to have your flu jab before the flu season starts each year. October or November is best.

Why do I need a new flu jab each year?

The virus that causes the flu rapidly mutates and evolves into new strains. Each year, experts from organisations like the World Health Organisation identify which strains pose the greatest risk in the upcoming flu season, and a vaccine is developed to protect against those strains. Next year, different strains will have emerged, so a new vaccine is needed before each flu season begins. 

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019 Learn more

Have you had your pneumonia jab?

Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lungs, usually caused by a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by a virus like flu or coronavirus (COVID-19). 20,000 cases are reported in the UK each year.

During winter, more vulnerable patients are at increased risk of developing pneumonia. Some patients who get COVID-19 will also get severe inflammation of the lungs, and potentially pneumonia. Our Pneumonia Vaccination Service enhances the immune system and protects against 13 common strains of bacteria known to cause the illness.

Learn more