What is Influenza (the flu)? 

Influenza is a highly contagious virus, easily spread by droplets passed from one person to another via coughing, sneezing, etc. It can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces where the virus is present. It causes a variety of symptoms including fever and chills, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and pains and fatigue, however in some patients they may have no symptoms but still be able to pass it on it others.

How is the flu treated? 

Influenza, or the flu, is treated with bed rest, fluids and analgesia as needed for any sore throat or muscle aches. Cough bottles and lozenges can also be used to alleviate a cough or sore throat. Preventing the influenza virus from spreading via vaccination gives the best protection against it, especially for those in high risk groups or healthcare workers.

What is the influenza vaccine? 

The influenza vaccine is a killed form of the virus, it does not give you the flu but helps your body develop immunity to it by producing antibodies. The vaccine is needed each year as the virus changes over time, so a new vaccination is developed annually.  

This year’s Influenza vaccine contains protection against 4 strains of the flu virus, which are recommended by the World Health Organisation as the most likely strains to be circulating this season.  

Although very effective, the influenza vaccine cannot completely stop the spread of all flu viruses so there is a possibility you may still get the flu following vaccination. Flu vaccines reduce the risk of infection by up to 60%, reduces the severity of the illness if contracted, complications from influenza, flu-related hospital admissions and admissions to critical care units.

Side effects of the vaccine

Side effects following the influenza vaccine are usually very mild and occur at the site of the injection. Rarely, patients can experience more severe symptoms.  See below for a list of possible side effects following vaccination: 


  • Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site 
  • Fatigue 
  • Low grade fever 
  • Headache 
  • Body aches and pains 
  • Very rarely patients may develop a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, known as anaphylaxis 


Patients are advised to wait in the premises for 15 minutes following vaccination.  

If after this time you experience mild side affects you are advised to rest, drink plenty of water and take paracetamol if needed for any fever and aches/pains. For more severe side effects or if you are worried following your injection you are advised to seek medical help, either call your doctor or the emergency medical services on 999.  

Those who should receive the vaccine:

  • High-risk patients 
  • Elderly patients, over 65 years of age 
  • Household contacts of a high-risk patient 
  • Pregnant women 
  • People with chronic health conditions, including respiratory diseases, diabetes, cancer, etc.  
  • Health-care workers 
  • Anyone who wishes to reduce their chance of catching and transmitting influenza  

Those who should not receive the vaccine:

  • Babies under 6 months of age. 
  • Those who have previously experienced anaphylaxis following influenza vaccination or are severely allergic to a component of the vaccine. 

You will not be eligible to receive the Influenza Vaccination at the HealthBeacon Flu Clinic if any of the following apply to you on the day you are due to be vaccinated

  • You feel unwell. 
  • You have a fever. 
  • You are allergic to eggs. Please disclose other allergies prior to receiving the flu vaccination. 
  • You have had a previous episode of anaphylaxis following any vaccination in the past. 
  • You have a history of ‘Guillain Barre Syndrome,’ a rare rapid-onset neurological condition causing weakness and paralysis often associated with illness or infection, which may or may not lead to permanent damage. 
  • You have a bleeding disorder. 

On the day of the vaccination, we will confirm that you have:

  • Read and understand the influenza vaccine factsheet presented to you, including the possible side effects of the vaccine which you may or may not experience.
  • Understood you are advised to remain in the premises for 15 minutes after receiving your vaccine. 
  • Understood that the vaccine is not 100% effective at preventing contraction of influenza however it greatly reduces your risk. 
  • Had the opportunity to ask any questions relating to this factsheet.
  • Understood that your GP will not be notified by HealthBeacon of this vaccination and so you should endeavour to notify your GP of the vaccination for their records.
  • Understood that any personal details given will be collected, stored and processed in accordance with GDPR.
  • Answered the questions above to the best of your ability and believe the answers provided to be true and accurate.

Thank you for choosing to be vaccinated with HealthBeacon!