Get a flu vaccination

UCL students currently in the UK have been offered a free flu vaccination, provided by Boots. Now more than ever, flu vaccines are vitally important, so we strongly encourage you to get yours done.

It's very important to ensure you're vaccinated against the flu for a number of reasons:

  • if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill
  • it'll help to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who may be dealing with coronavirus
  • if you're at higher risk from coronavirus, you're also more at risk of problems from flu

You can very easily support the NHS and protect yourself and others by getting your flu vaccination done. 

We offered free flu vaccination vouchers to all students currently in the UK until midday on 30 November 2021, which can be used in participating Boots pharmacy stores. Vouchers are valid for use until January 2022.

Request a voucher

The UCL seasonal 2021 Flu Vaccination Programme has now closed. If you require a flu vaccine, please contact your local GP or pharmacy to check if you are eligible for the national programme.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get my vaccination?

Firstly, you'll need to complete the form above to request your voucher. Your voucher will then be sent to you by email within three working days. Simply click on the link in your voucher email to book a vaccination slot at a Boots store near you.

What is flu?

Flu (influenza) 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.

Symptoms of flu include a sudden fever (a temperature of 38C or above), body aches, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, headache, difficulty sleeping, diarrhoea or stomach pain, feeling and/or being sick. 

You are most likely to pass on flu to others in your first 5 days of infection, spread by germs from coughs and sneezes. Being vaccinated can prevent flu infection.

How effective is the 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.

Does the flu vaccine have any side effects?

Flu vaccines are very safe. Most side effects are mild and only last for a day or so, such as:

  • slightly raised temperature
  • muscle aches
  • sore arm where the needle went in – this is more likely to happen with the vaccine for people aged 65 and over

Try these tips to help reduce the discomfort:

  • continue to move your arm regularly
  • take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen – some people, including those who are pregnant, should not take ibuprofen unless a doctor recommends it

Allergic reactions to the flu vaccine

It's very rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the flu vaccine. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.

The person who vaccinates you will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

Can the vaccine give me flu?

None of the flu vaccines contains live viruses so they cannot cause flu.

If you are unwell after vaccination, you may have something else. Or you may have caught flu before your vaccination had worked.

Can I get an egg-free vaccine?

Some flu vaccines are made using eggs. You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. If you have an egg allergy, you can request an egg-free vaccine once you've received your voucher.

When you go to book your vaccine (by clicking the link in the voucher), you will be asked about any allergies and directed to an egg-free option if needed.

How can I get help?

Should you have any further questions, please contact us through askUCL