The cheapest places to get a flu jab ready for winter

GETTING the flu jab is even more important this year as the UK continues to battle against coronavirus.

More of us are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Worse, if you get the flu and coronavirus at the same time, you're likely to be seriously ill.

Flu is highly infectious and usually starts making the rounds in December – which is why charities are calling on people to get their jab before Christmas.

The good news is that vaccines are highly accessible these days, and lots of us can have one for free.

But with jabs available everywhere from supermarkets to pharmacies – how can you make sure you're not spending too much?

Prices vary enormously, so it's well worth doing your research before you book an appointment.

To help out, we've looked at all the places offering the vaccine to see where's cheapest as well as how you can get a free one.

Here's everything you needto know:

How to get a free flu vaccine

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:

  • are 50 and over (including those who'll be 50 by 31 March 2022)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • frontline health or social care workers

The flu vaccine is also offered for free on the NHS to anyone with a serious long-term health condition, including:

  • respiratory conditions, such as asthma (needing steroid inhaler or tablets), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and bronchitis
  • diabetes
  • heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure
  • being very overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
  • chronic kidney disease
  • liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
  • a learning disability
  • problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease, or if you have had your spleen removed
  • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or taking medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy

If you have a condition that doesn't fall within these groups, you might still be able to get a free jab.

Talk to your doctor and they will offer you a vaccine if they think you're at risk.

If you're a frontline health and social care worker, your employer should offer you a flu vaccine. They may give the vaccine at your workplace.

You can also have an NHS flu vaccine at a GP surgery or a pharmacy, if you're a health or social care worker employed by a:

  • registered residential care or nursing home
  • registered homecare organisation
  • hospice

If you meet these conditions you can get a free jab from your GP surgery, a pharmacy offering NHS jabs, your midwife if you're pregnant or at a hospital appointment.

You can search for pharmacies and supermarkets that provide free vaccinations using the NHS tool.

Some other employers choose to offer the vaccine, so it's worth checking with your HR team to see if it's something your company will be offering.

Children can also get free protection against flu in the form of a nasal spray.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is free on the NHS for:

  • children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2021.
  • all primary school children (reception to year 6)
  • all year 7 to year 11 children in secondary school
  • children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions

If your child is aged between six months and two years and has a long-term health condition that makes them at higher risk from flu, they'll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray.

How to get the cheapest private flu jab?

If you're not eligible for a free jab on the NHS and your workplace doesn't offer one, you can still choose to get one privately.

There are plenty of nationwide chains that do private vaccinations with costs starting from as little as £8 at Asda and Morrisons.

Plenty of local pharmacies that are not part of chains offer the jab too – check in with your nearest and ask about costs.

Typically, we found that the supermarket pharmacies tended to be cheaper than the likes of Boots, Superdrug and Lloyds.

Here's the full list from cheapest to most expensive including their prices and how to book.

  • Asda pharmacy – £8 – book now
  • Morrisons pharmacy – £8 – book in store
  • Tesco pharmacy – £9 – book now
  • Day Lewis pharmacy – £9.99 – book via your local website
  • Superdrug – £13.99 – book now
  • Boots – £14.99 – book now
  • Lloyds Pharmacy – book now

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