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Why your flu jab is important

Ian lives with COPD, and has a flu jab every year. He doesn’t want to take a chance of serious problems caused by flu.

Ian flu jab

Flu jabs, really?

Winter’s really here now, and GPs are pressing us to have a flu jab again.

Another trip to the doctor and it will be raining. The surgery will be full and everyone will be coughing. Have they got the right strains as the target this year? It might make me feel off colour for a few days, and I’ll have a sore arm.

Well, that’s the way I used to look at it, but not anymore.

Some years ago, I saw a neighbour with flu and realised that anything is better than getting flu on top of having COPD.  Those of us who live with COPD know it’s bad enough already.

My neighbour said she is going to have a jab this year, "just in case. It can’t hurt can it?" she said. (Well, maybe a tiny bit.)

It just doesn't make any sense to not to have the flu jab

I hear some people say the jab doesn’t work, and I ask myself: "do they know that for sure, or is this just idle chat they have picked up?"

But what if it works, and the doctors have got it right? It's a reasonable bet, especially if you live with a lung condition like me.

I don’t want my symptoms to flare up or to be in hospital with problems caused by flu. Getting flu isn’t just a chest thing - it increases the chances of getting heart attacks and strokes too.

When you compare a bad outcome like getting the flu, against a good outcome - not getting the flu - it really doesn’t make any sense to not get the jab.

That's why I was really surprised to find out that only about half of those of us living with lung conditions get the jab.

It's crucial to keep well in the cold

I also do other things to keep well in the cold, such as avoiding contact with people who’ve got coughs and sneezes. My friends and family don’t visit me if they’ve got a cold or flu!

I’ve had flu jabs for 5 years and I haven’t had flu. Is that because of the jab? I don’t know to be honest. But let me tell you, I’m not going to take a chance this year or any other.

It's not too late to get your jab

If you want to get a flu jab, it's not too late. And if you have a long-term lung condition or are over 65, it's free on the NHS. Ask your GP or pharmacist.

We checked this information in January 2019 and we’ll look at it again before January 2021.


As a Type 1 Diabetic I always get a jab and have never had flu. The problem I think is the scaremongering about vaccines but compared to the actual disease a vaccination is nothing.

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29 January 2019

Last medically reviewed: January 2019. Due for review: January 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.