ME Association Leaflet: The Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines 2020 – 2021 & Website Poll of Flu Vaccine Reactions in ME/CFS

October 7, 2020

Dr Charles Shepherd, Hon. Medical Adviser, ME Association

Why are we asking about flu vaccination in this month’s website poll?

We have updated our information and guidance on all aspects of flu vaccination in relation to ME/CFS and it is now available as a free 5-page leaflet.

New free 5-page leaflet!

This year we have included further information in relation to COVID-19 – as catching the flu and COVID-19 would be very nasty combination of infections especially if you have ME/CFS.

The leaflet also provides information on how to get a flu vaccine, if you choose to have one, from both your GP and from high street pharmacies.

It also contains information on the pneumococcal vaccine used to protect against pneumonia – which is often given with the flu vaccine if you are over 65 for example.

We felt it would be useful to update our patient evidence on what effect flu vaccine has on people with ME/CFS – as the last time we did a full survey was back in 2008. This is why we are asking about reactions to flu vaccine in this survey.

  • The Website Poll is located in the right-hand margin of the website —>

Flu Vaccine and ME/CFS – Information for 2020-2021



New Free 5-page Leaflet!

Seasonal flu (also known as influenza) is a highly infectious illness caused by several types of flu virus. It causes up to 30,000 deaths per year in England alone.

The flu virus spreads rapidly through small infected droplets that are coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.

Even people with mild or no symptoms can infect other people. So the spread of infection is just the same as with COVID-19.

As there is no simple answer as to whether you should have flu vaccine if you have ME/CFS, the purpose of this leaflet is to provide information on all aspects of flu vaccination. You and your doctor can then decide if you ought to have this protection…

Pneumococcal (Pneumonia) vaccination

This vaccine is now being offered to people over the age of 65 and those with other health  conditions (e.g. heart and lung disease) that place them at increased risk from this bacterial infection. It provides very valuable protection against an infection that can cause a severe type of pneumonia…

Topics discussed in this leaflet, include:

  • Covid-19 and flu vaccinations this year
  • The science behind flu viruses and vaccines
  • The 2020-2021 flu vaccine
  • Do people with M.E. meet NHS criteria for a free flu vaccine?
  • Who should have the flu vaccination?
  • Key points in favour of the vaccine if you have M.E.
  • Key points where caution is required if you have M.E.
  • Where to have the flu jab
  • Reducing the risk of catching flu virus and passing it on to others
  • Research into flu vaccines and M.E.
  • Pneumococcal Vaccination (Pneumonia)

The ME Association

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