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Flu vaccines

To support our employees, UCL are funding seasonal flu vaccination programme accessible to all UCL staff in the UK, delivered in partnership with Boots Plc. 

Have you used your flu vaccine voucher?

We have issued over 7,000 flu vaccine vouchers so far this year to UCL staff and students. Due to national flu vaccine shortages this year, we are asking that if you have requested a voucher from UCL, but are not planning to use it, please send it to ohw-wellbeing@ucl.ac.uk, so we can re-issue it.

UCL Staff Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme 2020

Professor Graham Hart, Dean of the Faculty of Population Health Sciences, said “It is particularly important this year that people are vaccinated against flu.  This is not only for our own protection, and the health of our families and friends, but because we all want to help reduce the burden of respiratory diseases on the NHS.  Preventing flu will actually help the national Covid-19 effort”

How to request your voucher

  • Please complete this form to request your voucher, providing your UCL email address. You will receive your voucher via email within three working days.  
  • Once you have your voucher, please use the link on the voucher to make your appointment at a convenient Boots participating store. The link will take you to a bespoke Boots Corporate booking system
  •  If you have a have a question or query then please email Workplace Health.

We recognise that the NHS are offering a broader flu vaccination programme than in previous years, due to the pandemic and health impact of contracting flu and COVID-19. If you are eligible for a free NHS flu vaccination then you are still able to access the vaccination through our partnership with Boots.  

Flu and COVID-19

PHE research suggests that those with co-infection of the two viruses (COVID-19 and flu) were at more risk of severe illness. Flu is a serious condition which kills on average 11,000 people in England each year. It is more important than ever to have a seasonal flu vaccination this year to protect yourself and others.

In the UK, the flu vaccine is available each year from late September or early October onwards. It is recommended to get the flu vaccine in the autumn, before outbreaks of flu have started. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for you to be protected against flu.

What is seasonal flu?

Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. It can be very unpleasant, but you'll usually begin to feel better within about a week. You can often treat the flu without seeing a GP.

Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:

  • a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above
  • an aching body
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • a dry cough
  • a sore throat
  • a headache
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • feeling sick and being sick

To help you get better more quickly:

  • rest and sleep
  • keep warm
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)

Catch it bin it kill it

How to avoid spreading the flu

Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people. You're more likely to give it to others in the first 5 days. Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

To reduce the risk of spreading flu:

  • wash your hands often for 20 seconds with warm water and soap
  • use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • bin used tissues as quickly as possible
  • catch it, bin it, kill it

About the flu vaccine

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you're otherwise healthy, it will usually clear up on its own within a week.

Flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:

  • anyone aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
  • children and adults with weakened immune systems

Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it's recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.

How effective is the flu vaccine?

Flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus that can cause unpleasant illness in children and severe illness and death among at-risk groups, including older people, pregnant women and those with an underlying medical health condition.

Studies have shown that the flu vaccine will help prevent you getting the flu. It will not stop all flu viruses and the level of protection may vary, so it's not a 100% guarantee that you'll be flu-free. But if you do get flu after vaccination, it's likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been.

Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record. They are the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus which can cause severe illness and deaths each year among at-risk groups. It is important to have a flu vaccine every year because the flu virus is very variable and changes over time. Each year there are different strains around, and a new vaccine has to be prepared to deal with them.

There's also evidence to suggest that the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of having a stroke.

Over time, protection from the injected flu vaccine gradually decreases, and flu strains often change. New flu vaccines are produced each year, which is why people advised to have the flu vaccine need it every year, too.

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