Influenza, a viral infection whose main site is respiratory system and respiratory tract. It is Commonly known as flu and affects nose and throat in the upper respiratory tract and lungs in lower respiratory tract. Influenza virus contains single stranded RNA genome and has been divided into 4 types; influenza A virus, influenza B virus, influenza C virus and influenza D virus. IAV and IBV affect humans. Season flu virus affects people throughout the year but prevail mostly in winter season. There are several conditions which make a person more susceptible to catching the flu virus. Children under ages 4-5, geriatric patients of age 60 years and above, pregnant women, women 2 weeks after parturition, immunocompromised patients, people with high BMI and those who are already suffering from a prolong illness such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, renal or hepatic insufficiencies or heart diseases. Its incubation period is 1-4 days and has several symptoms that can help in its diagnosis. Fever and runny or stuffy nose are the ones that are most common. In addition to that headache, chills, dyspnea, fatigue, cough, muscle pain and pain in eye are seen in a patient suffering from fu. Vomiting and diarrhea are seen only in children and are rare in adults.
In usual and normal states, flu rectifies after a few days to weeks and the patient recovers on his or her own without medication or drugs. Although, some conditions as mentioned earlier can result in complications or increased severity in the typical symptoms. These symptoms can progress into pneumonia or other pulmonary diseases, making the flu a fatal threat. Such patients need a supportive therapy. This therapy can be pre or post infection. We will focus on the pre-infection protection as it is the safest and effective way of controlling influenza virus and its spread.
The pre-infection protection includes influenza vaccine also known as flu shots or flu jab. Getting vaccinated timely is the crucial step in this regard. Even in this era of technology and scientific discoveries, many people still believe in myths and rumors like vaccines causing infertility or paralysis and prefer not to get vaccinated against any disease. Additionally, anti-vax parents add insult to injury. They are resistant getting their vulnerable child or infant vaccinated against any disease which proves life threatening for the child and creates challenges both for the parents and the doctors. Such conditions raise issues in maintaining a vaccination record in a community. It also causes a decline in the consequent immunity that was to be achieved by vaccination of rest of the people in that particular community.
The first duty on the citizen is to get an appointment for the vaccine. The government’s responsibility is to provide sufficient vaccine, staff and relevant resources in the immunization centers all over the country, in every city and town. Beyond this the work of the city’s higher authorities start which have to make sure that all their citizens have sufficient awareness regarding the disease, its complications and the significance and necessity of this vaccine for their protection. All citizens especially the high-risk individuals like the elderly and the children will have approach to these immunization centers. Next, the individual himself must feel responsible for getting his appointment on time to get vaccinated. There are several services that provide the ‘FLU JAB” every year. There are various methods of making an appointment for your annual vaccine shot. Some of them were quite hectic in the past but recently like many other living conditions, this too has become really easy.
ASDA FLU VACCINE
ASDA Flu Jab Available For £8
One such well-known and reliable service is ASDA PHARMACY or ASDA FLU JAB. They provide the NHS flu jab. They claim their vaccine is available and safe for a wide range of age group. ASDA pharmacies are providing the flu jabs in 225 stores nationwide in the United Kingdom. Their vaccine is cheapest as of present, costing only 8 pounds.
According to the Asda pharmacies, the vaccine is not completely protective and does not prevent you from catching the disease. The benefit of vaccine lies in its ability to prevent the worsening and exacerbation of the flu. The vaccine is claimed to have no side effect or associated reactions in a normal healthy person not suffering from a chronic disease or on a long drug treatment. The vaccine administered is advised as an annual shot and is effective when administered in months of fall and winter.
There are some rules and ethics that you must keep in view while visiting the pharmacy to get vaccinated. If you notice that there are people who are in dire need of the vaccine even more than you, you should let them go before you but do not compromise on your own health. Help others to the extent where it does not start to burden you.
Also, the pharmacies have requested and ordered not to come in person if you have been infected with COVID-19 or are suspecting symptoms of covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who has been tested positive for the SARS-COV2 PCR test. The symptoms of Covid-19 are easily detected by the person themself. Anosmia and loss of taste perception, cough and fever all may indicate to the Covid-19 infection. Although, they can also point to some other viral or bacterial infection. If you have already had your vaccine appointment booked, call your pharmacy to rearrange it.
WHO SHOULD GET THE VACCINE?
Children from age 11-12 and over, all are considered for it. The NHS vaccination is a service provided only by the ASDA pharmacies in the United Kingdom but they have set certain criteria which have to be met to be eligible for the NHS vaccine. Pregnant women, people above 50 years or care takers are considered priority for it. Additionally, there are several illnesses that make the person qualified for the vaccine. These conditions include cardiac, hepatic or renal disease, diabetes, pulmonary diseases such as COPD or asthma or some kind of neurological defect.
CONTRAINDICATIONS OF THE FLU JAB
There are several limitations for this flu jab. The criteria also determines when the vaccine should not be given. Proper information in this regard on part of the vaccinator and the patient both is necessary to avoid unmanageable complications. People who have already gotten the flu shot should not, at any chance, get vaccinated again in that same year. For this, the vaccinator must acquire a medical history of the patient regarding his immunization in the past. Often, the person may forget mentioning it by himself and in such case, it is the vaccinator’s duty to investigate about his history.
People who had severe hypersensitivity or any allergic reaction to previous vaccine, should avoid the vaccine as the subsequent reaction may even be worse than the last one.
If you are already feeling sick, tired, fatigued or have a fever, prefer delaying your vaccination appointment to a later date until you feel well again. The reason is that if your body is already undergoing a healing process from a previous disease or is fighting an infection, then vaccination will add a burden on your immune system and may aggravate your condition ever more.
Over the last few years, the increasing prevalence of influenza virus and flu patients, the need for this flu jab has increased. This need has increased its demand and price. Many developed countries are providing free flu shots every year to all nationals. However, some developing countries that face the hurdle of limited resources and money, unfortunately, cannot provide sufficient free vaccine all over the country. In the United Kingdom, the flu jab has been valued at different prices. Some stores have kept the charges alarmingly high. Although, there are several ways one can find cheap or maybe even free flu vaccine proving stores or superstores. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the process of flu vaccine is a little disturbed all over the world as coronavirus is a bigger concern than the usual seasonal flu. Resultantly, people are at their lowest level of immunity against the influenza virus this year.
- Free Flu Jab
The NHS vaccine is free for various categories of people. Pregnant women, patients above 50 years, primary and secondary school students, health care workers, chronically ill and weak patients and caretakers as in nursing homes are prioritized for the free NHS vaccine. NHS front line health care workers are given the free flu jab. Also, the immunocompromised patients whose body is already weak enough to withstand any infection or disease are in need of this flu jab more than anyone else. Such people are also qualified for getting free flu jab. Children between 6 months of age to 2 years with a long-term ailment are also suitable for receiving the free flu shot. Office and factory workers must inquire and request their employers to get all the employees vaccinated against the influenza virus for free.
- If you are not qualifying for free flu jab
People who are not included in the above categories mentioned may not be able to get the free flu jab. However, they can still get vaccinated in a small price. There are various private flu jab options. Finding a cheap store or superstore is not a hard task. The trick is to get the appointment as soon as possible. ASDA pharmacies in this case are your best and inexpensive option.
Every year, the increasing high demand of vaccine results in filled up slots throughout the country. Most of the stores stop the appointment process after few days due to excessive appointments rate. Walk-in vaccination in such condition may not be a good idea as it may only result in just a useless visit and wasting an entire day.
People who qualify for free flu jab receive a call or message from their routine or family physician or clinic to remind them to book an appointment every year. Call or visit your nearest pharmacy or supermarket to book your appointment.
Asda pharmacy is a successful company. They have set up online sites to help people make appointments from the ease of their home. You can make the appointment in-person, on call or online. To further speed up and smoothen the process, they have added an additional service. After making the appointment, visit the website and choose the store or branch you plan on visiting for your flu jab. Fill a short form and you all are done. You just have to show up at the vaccination center (ASDA PHARMACIES) on your appointed day and time with all the necessary information or documents and that’s it.
If you cannot seem to find an open slot or connect with the pharmacy or store on phone and are unable to visit it in person due to your daily schedule, you must resort to some other source. Many sites and apps other than those of the pharmacies themselves have been set up to provide people with a easier method to get through the tedious process. Localworkingtimes.com and many other websites like these help you find an open and available appointment slot in your vicinity.
There are several other cheap pharmacies throughout the United Kingdom that provide the flu jab. Although, they are not any cheaper than the ASDA pharmacies but in situations of full booking or inaccessibility these pharmacies are a great second option. BOOTS, LLOYDS, MORRISONS, SUPERDRUG and TESCO flu jabs are some names that come to mind. Boots flu jab costs 13.99 to 14.99 pounds and the Lloyds pharmacy flu jab is priced at 14.99 pounds. The prices of both the providers are quite comparable. Although, Lloyd’s pharmacy flu jab last year was 12.99 pounds but the price has increased this year just like Superdrug flu jab which was 12.99 pounds last year but is 13.99 pounds this year. Morrisons have priced their vaccine at 8 pounds and Tesco at 9 pounds.
Thus, Asda, Tesco and Morrisons are the cheapest options while choosing a flu jab.