Your experiences of flu jabs

Hello everyone

Carers UK is contributing to some research on flu jabs and we’d really appreciate hearing about your experiences of flu jabs in recent years.

We would like to hear about all of your experiences but would be particularly interested in hearing about why you decided to get or not to get a flu jab? It would also be helpful to hear where you got your flu jab (e.g. local pharmacy) and whether your GP referred you. And thinking ahead to this winter and the precautions we are all taking in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, do you plan to get a flu jab?

Thank you in advance for any experiences you are happy to share. If you would rather not post these in the Forum, please send them by email to

With good wishes


Used to go to the G.P. but the waiting time was quite long. I live near a pharmacy and now go there. It’s very convenient and efficient.

Yes, I will still be getting my jab this winter.

GP invites me, I turn up, no queue, jab, and go. Top tip is I don’t have it in my arm, which always goes sore, but in my backside. Never feel it there afterwards.

I get an invite by email, I then book the date on-line, turn up for a dedicated Flu-jab session (usually a Saturday morning), and join the conveyor belt.

There’ll be three or four nurses in the Treatment Room giving the jabs, no time to sit down and wait, just join the queue.

I’ve never had a reaction to the jab, I do have it in my right arm just in case, as I’m a leftie.

Who doesn’t want to minimise the risk of getting flu? Only those who’ve never had it at a guess!

I’ll have one this year if it’s offered.

I have had flu before. It was horrible.

Last time I got flue jab I got really unwell after . So haven’t had it since.

Will I have flue jab this year. No.

If there is a Corona vaccinne at some point
… yes I will have it if I think its safe as its worse than normal flue.

1 the supermarket i go to has a chemist built in very handy, they do flu jabs and free for unpaid carers.
But you have to book it, when are you available next week? i am an unpaid carer no such thing as when am i available, doesn’t work like that.
3 staff just standing there chatting, can i have a flu jab now only takes 30 seconds, no we don’t do that, gave up in the end.

2 I took my caree down to the GP’s for a flu jab NO we don’t come out, what if you are housebound and can’t go out?
Caree had the flu jab, i asked could i have a flu jab NO I could get sacked if i give you a flu jab said the nurse.
I have long term health problems, what if i get ill, I cannot care, what is the price of a flu jab, 50p, a couple of quid.

3 My caree was ill, the GP came out and gave my caree the flu jab, the sensible GP had chucked a load of flu jabs in her bag for the oldies as she called them.

4 Another caree is allergic to eggs, the flu jab is cultured in eggs so my caree cannot have a flu jab, they do special egg free flu jabs but there was no demand so the GP sent them all back very helpful.

Finally the finale, I took a neighbour down for a flu jab Saturday morning, complete and total chaos, the car park jammed packed full.
Dozens of people queueing up, about 2 hundred? , I sat in the car waiting an hour and a half for a 30 sec flu jab.
I don’t know what happened, had they told everyone to turn up at 10am? I don’t know, total chaos.

So i have only had one flu jab, i do get a letter entitling me to a flu jab but it is just too difficult to get one, you can’t just get one while you wait, it doesn’t work like that.

If the G.P. could do caree and unpaid carer together that would be easier, both need the flu jab, if the unpaid carer got flu would not be able to care needing substitute care, hundreds of pounds.

I think the district nurses used to do the flu jabs, i live on an estate a lot of elderly/disabled, all very close together.
Very easy for the district nurses to go house to house.
But was told it was cancelled, district nurses not allowed, its all money and politics and red tape.

So yes will try and get a flu jab this year but not easy.

Thanks for your very quick responses and top tips! These are really helpful and much appreciated.

It would be great to hear from other members too.


When I used to take Mum for her annual flu jab her GP used to remind me that I was also entitled to one (as I was caring for her) and that I should see my own GP (different practices). If I had any reason to see my own GP around flu jab time then he usually did ask if I wanted one - at that time I often refused because, like a lot of other people, I was under the impression that the vaccine was a “watered down” version of the virus.

Since then I’ve developed underlying health conditions - quadruple heart bypass, type 2 diabetes - and, of course, I’m now well over 65 ! So yes, I have one every year. I’ve only had one adverse reaction and that was in 2018 when they introduced two versions of the vaccine; one for the over 65’s and another for everyone else. A lot of over 65’s complained of a very sore arm that year :unamused: So in 2019 I was a bit nervous but the practice nurse assured me that as I’d had a reaction the last time then I shouldn’t get one again and - I didn’t.

I normally get a text from my practice telling me on what dates it will be available - no need to make an appointment just turn up at the appointed fate/time and get in the queue. The clinics are usually held on a Saturday and all the Doctors and nurses are on duty so waiting time is usually only minutes - if I remember correctly I think last year I was in and out again in less than 10 minutes :slight_smile:

As a carer and under pension age you are not informed. You are automatically entitled to a flu jab. It’s only the fact I originally checked the internet for the info. Even now my husband get a remind he is eligible for the G.P. He has his flu jab at the local chemist. He is 67 I still don’t get a reminder I am 62.I am registered as his carer with his G.P.

I have never had a flu jab, i dont think the flu is as common as initially suspected. :smiley: I havent needed the jab either, i suppose as long as we stay safe and take precautions then the risk is more unlikely.

I’ve been having the flu jab for over 10 years and yes it certainly has made a positive difference to me. I have the flu jab in September or early October and it usually stops me from getting the flu. If I do get flu symptons then they are less severe and the symptoms go away more quickly too.

One important piece of advice is IF YOU DO HAVE THE FLU JAB HAVE IT EARLY IN THE DAY . Apparently the flu jab is much more effective early on in the morning than later on in the day. It is to do with your immune system.

Wasn’t aware of flu jab qualifications whilst caring 12 years for hubby. Luckily, I didn’t catch it and hubby didn’t suffer from colds or stuff like that.
Not eligible for it FOC nowadays, cos am too ‘young’ at 61, but my 92 yr old uncle was given it 10 years’ ago and was really ill afterwards and he has said that he’d never have it again. The GP keeps pestering him, but he steadfastly refuses as he was so ill.

Free for all carers

People who should have a flu vaccine
The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk.

This is to help protect them against catching flu and developing serious complications.

You should have the flu vaccine if you:

are 65 years old or over
are pregnant
have certain medical conditions
are living in a long-stay residential care home or another long-stay care facility
receive a carer’s allowance, or you’re the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

I’ve always had a flu jab for years and requested it at GP because I had asthma long before I was a carer. Last year for the first time ever I got it done at a pharmacy because my apt at the GP wasn’t until mid Oct. I was collecting precription for client and they asked me to have it as I was a carer so I did in early September.

Never reacted badly, sometimes a bruised arm for a couple of days and sometimes a bit of a cold for a few days and sometimes nothing at all.

When I get bad colds they are more like bubonic plague so why wouldn’t I have a flu jab?

It’s different for me. Never had the flu jab, as a little nervous. IF, and not often I need something for a headache or niggle in wrist, I only take 1 paracetamol or nurofen at a time. More have caused sleep paralysis and it’s a horrible feeling.
Hubby always had the flu jab, and I had to sign permission when in the nursing home.

NanaNana, it’s be offered to the over 50’s this year


My childhood taught me that we need vaccinations. And I treat my children the same way. We regularly vaccinate according to age. And we have never had any serious diseases from which we are vaccinated.

Thanks very much for sharing all your experiences and tips on flu jabs in this topic. Carers UK’s policy team is drawing on your posts to produce a report on flu jabs which will be published in the coming weeks. We’ll post this report here when it is available.

You may also be interested to read Carers UK’s recent response to the Government’s decision to expand the flu vaccination programme.

With good wishes


At 87 I’ve never had a flu jab and don’t intend to start because this winter I shall have all my food delivered, no visitors and no shop/pub/etc visits at all because of dear ol’ corona, which I
expect will certainly accompany Father Xmas on his rounds, :slight_smile:

at 37 , never had it “” not entitled to it “” according to the scottish government …
my mum had it once after being forced by her Dr at the time. and it floored her for 2 weeks, she was sick , dizzy , and it caused her vertigo to kick into over drive.
the flu jab is the cheapest lesser effective one than the one offered in England.

My disabled sister was told this by her Dr’s , and has informed them that she will NEVER get the cheap one that is offered in scotland at Dr’s , and she will instead pay for the more advanced one that you can get in England . she goes to her local chemist who charge £12 for it .

mum had a letter last winter telling her “” your reserved flu vaccine is available now , phone to book your slot.“”
she called the Dr’s rather than the number on the letter , and she was told “” you HAVE to get it because you are of that age …
she told them she will NOT come for it , did not want it , nor could she be forced to have it .
as the last time she had an injection the nurse asked her to fill out a consent form for “” invasion of privacy “”
so she kept getting letters telling her , to book her slot for the flu vaccine .