Influenza

As of 31/12/2018, Public Health England have issued the following giudance:

“Surveillance data indicates now an increase in influenza cases in the community. Prescribers may now prescribe and pharmacists may now supply antiviral medicines for the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza at NHS expense.

Hospital clinicians should continue to prescribe antiviral medicines for patients whose illness is confirmed or clinically suspected to be due to influenza, in accordance with PHE guidance for the treatment of complicated influenza.”

The PHE Guidance on the treatment of suspected or confirmed influenza in 2019 is summarised as follows:

Figure 1 PHE Influenza Treatment Flowchart, 2018-19

Click on the flowchart above or this link to the full treatment guidance.

The seasonal flu vaccine is offered free of charge to protect people at the greatest risk from catching and spreading flu.

Who should have the vaccination?

In 2018/19 the one change in eligibility is the extension to an additional cohort of children, those in school year 5. Therefore, in 2018/19 the following groups are eligible for flu vaccination free of charge on the NHS:

  • All children aged two to nine (but not ten years or older) on 31 August 2018.
  • All primary school-aged children in former primary school pilot areas.
  • those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups.
  • pregnant women.
  • those aged 65 years and over.
  • those in long-stay residential care homes.
  • carers.

In addition, vaccination is recommended for frontline health and social care workers.

The viruses that cause flu changes every year, so people in at risk groups should get vaccinated annually.

Please follow this link to the full 2018-19 PHE immunisation guidance

Please see the National and NICE Guidance section for further guidance on seasonal flu vaccinations 2018/2019.