Flu vaccinations 2021 - 2022
Advice and resources for nursing staff on seasonal flu vaccinations.
Flu vaccinations 2021 - 2022
For more information on the RCNs work on public health, access to clinical information, continuing professional development resources and joining the forum see: Public Health Forum.
The Influenza vaccination programme for 2021/2022 will be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in terms of delivery of the vaccine safely in line with infection prevention and control guidance and alongside the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine programme.
This information is focused is on the influenza vaccine and provides authoritative resources on influenza and influenza vaccinations.
If you are having any difficulties accessing vaccination in your frontline care role, please Contact the Advice Centre.
Influenza vaccination 2021 - 2022
The influenza immunisation programme in the UK is based on recommendations by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent expert advisory committee that advises all UK health departments on vaccination and immunisation programmes. The guidance is available in the UK Immunisation against infectious disease document, ‘The Green Book’ Influenza chapter 19.
The following vaccine types are recommended by the JCVI for use as part of the NHS Annual Influenza Vaccination Programme. The choice of which vaccine to use is also advised by the JCVI and is dependent on ag, see: JCVI advice.
All influenza vaccines available in the UK for the 2021 to 2022 season contain 4 serotypes.
These consist of; 2 A strains and 2 B strains of influenza virus.
They are listed on this poster with the ova albumen (egg protein) content where applicable and include:
- Adjuvented Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine - (aQIV)
- Quadrivalent Influenza Cell-culture Vaccine - (QIVc)
- Quadrivalent Recombinant Influenza Vaccine - (QIVr)
- Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine (egg based) - (QIVe)
- Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) – recommended for children up to 18.
Who should get what?
Those aged 65 years and over: aQIV – in preference and QIVc or QIVr (where aQIV is not available)
Those aged 50 to 64 years and all at-risk adults, including pregnant women, aged 18 to less than 65 years: QIVc or QIVr – in preference and QIVe (where QIVc or QIVr is not available)
The annual flu vaccine is recommended for the following groups across the UK:
- those at particular risk of severe infection; older people, those who are immunosuppressed and those with other underlying health conditions
- all children aged 2 and 3 years
- children in primary and secondary schools up to 18, (the exact age ranges for this varies across the UK countries)
- England: includes all children 2 years old up to year 11 (15 years on the 31st August 2021)
- Northern Ireland: this includes children from 2 years old up to school year 8
- Scotland: Children in primary one to primary seven at school and all secondary school pupils (years one to six) at school see here
- Wales: children in primary school from reception class to year 6 (inclusive) see here
- those at most risk of transmitting infection such as: all health and social care workers with direct patient/client contact
Health and social care workers
Health care workers have a responsibility to protect their patients and for nurses this is enshrined in the NMC Code. Flu vaccination for health care workers helps to stop the transmission of the flu virus and is fully supported by professional bodies like the RCN and British Medical Association (BMA).
The RCN recommends that all members with direct patient care (including students on placement) are fully vaccinated against flu as part of their clinical and professional responsibilities to reduce the risks of spreading the infection to the people they care for.
Having a flu vaccine annually remains the best way to protect against catching or spreading flu. Nursing staff should make sure that they have the flu vaccine annually to protect themselves and that those they care for also have the vaccine every year.
Guidance is available from the Specialist Pharmacy Services (SPS) on authorisation for administration of the influenza vaccine for health care staff.
- Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers in the UK: appraisal of systematic reviews and policy options
- Public Health England (2018) PHE evidence annex Health Care Workers and vaccination 2018.
- RCN: clinical topic - immunisation
- RCN: Medicines management page
- Public Health England: ‘Immunisation Against Infectious Diseases’: The Green Book
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
- Influenza campaign resources: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland for health care staff and social care workers, and Wales
- The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Pharmaceutical officer in England have issued advice on the prescribing and supply of antiviral medicines for the prevention and treatment of influenza.
Public Health England immunisation training standards and core curriculum are applicable in England and Wales. The principles outlined in the standards may provide immunisers with some useful guidance and may be of use for those in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well.
For specific immunisation training resources for Scotland NHS Education for Scotland NES see: Immunisation.
England and Wales
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence- Flu vaccination: increasing uptake Quality Standard (QS190 2020)
- National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners (2018)
- National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training of Healthcare Support Workers (2015)
- PHE statement - Immunisation training guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Flu immunisation e-learning programme - An interactive flu immunisation e-learning programme, updated with the 2020/2021 influenza season information. The resource is written by PHE, and produced by Health Education England’s e-Learning for Healthcare, is available for anyone involved in delivering the flu immunisation programme
- Wales e-learning programme
- Video from NHS Education for Scotland for health professionals on how to administer the LAIV vaccine.
- AstraZeneca RCN Accredited eLearning resource for the LAIV
Country specific guidance
- Public Health England (PHE) annual Flu programme resources
- NHS E/I Directed Enhanced Service Specification Seasonal influenza and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination programme 2020/21
- NHS Choices Influenza vaccination
- Childhood flu programme: information for healthcare practitioners
- PHE resources on supporting people with learning difficulties.
- The NI Public Health Agency's Seasonal Influenza public health information and Flu Aware NI
- Healthcare worker flu resources.
- Public Health Scotland Flu immunisation programme - overview
- E-learning resource from NHS Education for Scotland
- Public Health Scotland Flu immunisation programme for children.
- All elements of the annual influenza campaign in Wales (including for health and social care workers) are supported by Wales see: Further information sources - Public Health Wales (nhs.wales)
Page last updated - 11/06/2022