Flu vaccinations 2021 - 2022

Advice and resources for nursing staff on seasonal flu vaccinations.

Flu vaccinations 2021 - 2022

Please see the following list of 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.
 
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Introduction

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. 

The RCN guidance for mass vaccination and the RCN Immunisation resource for useful advice and guidance. 

See also the RCN advice on COVID-19 and on the COVID-19 vaccination

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. 

Vaccine types 

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 
  • carers. 

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. 

See: RCN position statement on staff influenza vaccine 

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.  

Additional references

General guidance

Immunisation training

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

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

Training resources

Country specific guidance

England:

Northern Ireland:

Scotland:

Wales:

Page last updated - 04/10/2021