Flu jabs are our best protection against the incoming winter flu virus, according to the NHS.
The vaccine works by stimulating your body’s immune system to make antibodies that attack the flu virus.
Antibodies are proteins that recognise and fight off germs.
Last week Sir Malcolm Grant, chairman of NHS England, said he was “scared” how the NHS would cope and predicted the “health service” would be inundated with cases.
They are calling on ‘at risk’ groups – including children, those with chronic diseases, health workers and the elderly – to have the jab, and others are being encouraged to get protected too.
However, many are concerned that being vaccinated risks giving you flu.
But the NHS explains that it is not possible to get flu from the flu vaccine.
They stated on their website: “The injected flu vaccine is a killed vaccine, it cannot cause flu.”
For most flu vaccines, the viruses are grown in the eggs of hens.
These viruses are then killed – or deactivated – and purified before being made into a vaccine.
Once vaccinated, if you are exposed to the flu virus your body will recognise the virus and immediately produce antibodies to fight it.
This winter’s flu jab will have been thought about as early as February.
That is when the World Health Organisation each year assesses which strains are most likely to be circulating in the northern hemisphere later in the year.
Production of the vaccine starts in March and is usually available in the UK from September.
Some people may feel unwell after they have the vaccine – but this does not mean they have the flu.
Side-effects of the flu jab may include mild fever and slight muscle aches and usually go away within a couple of days.
You may be able to boost effectiveness of the vaccine by ensuring you are in a good mod when having it done, according to recent research.