Vaccines contain harmless versions of the bug you want to protect yourself against so that your immune system can remember them and act more quickly the next time it meets them.
Flu jab – if you’re 65 or over you can have it every winter free on the NHS. You are also eligible if you have a serious long-term health condition, such as diabetes, heart failure or Parkinson’s, or you’re pregnant or a health or social care worker or a carer.
Shingles jab – available on the NHS to people in
their 70s. Unlike the flu vaccine, you only need it once and can have it any time of year. It reduces your risk of catching shingles or lessens the symptoms if you do get it. Beyond age 80 it’s less effective, so not available on the NHS.
Pneumo jab – available free on the NHS if you’re over 65 or if you’re high risk due to long-term health conditions. It’s a single vaccination which works for life to help protect against pneumococcal infections, which that can lead to pneumonia,
septicaemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis.
Travel jabs – which ones you need depend on the regions of the world you’re visiting. Some are free on the NHS, such as hepatitis A, cholera and typhoid, and others, such as yellow fever, are only available privately. Find out more from your GP surgery or by visiting