Flu vaccination service
Community pharmacy flu vaccination service
What is it?
Eligible groups can receive a free flu vaccine, as part of the national flu immunisation programme, at participating community pharmacies across Northern Ireland.
You can find pharmacies offering the flu vaccine on this interactive map: Vaccine Service for NI (hscni.net)
Department of Health policy recommends that people who are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with flu get the vaccine as well as those who work with vulnerable people.
Who is eligible?
Community pharmacies will support the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Programme by offering the flu vaccine to those aged 18 years and over in the following groups:
- those aged 65 years and over
(including those who turn 65 by 31 March 2023)
- those aged 50 to 64 years not in clinical risk groups
(including those who turn 50 by 31 March 2023)
- pregnant women
- residents and staff in RQIA registered care homes (care homes will have clinics prearranged with pharmacy)
- frontline Health & Social Care Workers (HSCWs)
- Individuals who are immunosuppressed
- Individuals who are household contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- Persons aged 18 years to 49 years in a clinical at-risk group
Please see NIDirect for more information on eligible groups.
Why get the flu vaccine?
Flu can affect anyone, but it can be more serious in babies, pregnant women, older people and those with certain underlying conditions.
Each year, the flu vaccine protects against the most commonly circulating strains of flu. Getting your flu vaccine will help reduce the spread of flu for example, among your family members, friends, colleagues or if a health and social care worker, among your patients or clients, etc.
Early studies suggest that for some people with both COVID-19 and flu virus, the risk of serious complications and death increases. It is therefore more important than ever to get the vaccine.
For more information on the importance of getting the flu vaccine, please view the following leaflets:
Flu is more serious than you think (English and translations) | HSC Public Health Agency (hscni.net)
Health and social care workers Don’t risk flu infection! | HSC Public Health Agency (hscni.net)
Flu is more serious than you think: Pregnant women (English and translations) | HSC Public Health Agency (hscni.net)
Who are considered frontline Health and Social Care Workers?
Frontline Health and Social Care Workers can be vaccinated through this programme including Trust and non-Trust staff.
Frontline Health and social care workers must be aged 18 years and over and include the following groups:
- Health and Social Care Trusts including NIAS
- community HSC providers including GP practices, pharmacies, dentists and optometrists
- registered independent sector residential care or nursing home
- registered domiciliary care providers
- voluntary managed hospice providers
When can I get the flu vaccine?
You can get the flu vaccine through participating community pharmacies from 19th September 2022 until 31st March 2023.
There may be a slight delay for some pharmacies in starting the service as they set up the service.
Where can I get the free flu vaccination?
To find your closest pharmacy offering the flu vaccine, click on Vaccine Service for NI (hscni.net). You may need to make an appointment depending on your community pharmacy’s arrangements.
You will be required to wear a face covering (unless exempt). Please also check with the pharmacy if they have any additional infection control procedures in place that you will need to comply with.
**Please do not attend the pharmacy or vaccination appointment if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Instead contact the pharmacy to get advice and rearrange your appointment.**
What ID do I need?
You will need proof of your identity in order to receive your vaccination.
- Photographic ID (showing proof of your date of birth), such as passport or driving license. If this is not available, please contact the pharmacy to see what other forms of identification can be used.
- If you are a Health and Social Care Worker, you will have to provide proof you are working in the health and social care sectors such as
- an employer photo identification badge or
- other proof of employment in a health or social care setting e.g. payslip, letter from employer on official letterhead AND photographic proof of identification.
If you do not have the required proof of identification you will not be able to receive your vaccination. If you book with a community pharmacy but are not eligible your appointment will be cancelled.
Help for blind or partially sighted
If you are blind or partially sighted and need help finding details of your local pharmacy, please contact RNIB at 0303 123 9999*. Please note: this is not a booking line and the operator cannot help organise any vaccination appointments.
RNIB are ready to answer your call Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm.
The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Calls cost no more than a standard rate call to a 01 or 02 number, and count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls. The price of calls varies between different providers, including between landline and mobile companies, so check with your provider if you are unsure.