2021 winter flu vaccine and autumn COVID-19 booster vaccines

September 7, 2021

I will, as usual, be producing a fully updated version of our free MEA leaflet on flu vaccine as soon as I have all the details about both the 2021-2022 flu vaccine and any further changes to eligibility criteria. 

At the moment it looks as though the same criteria for having a free NHS flu vaccine as last year will apply. In addition, everyone over the age of 50 and anyone classified as being in a clinical risk group will also be able have a free NHS flu jab this year 

Dr.Shepherd, MEA Hon Medical Adviser
Dr Charles Shepherd

As we constantly point out, people with ME/CFS should be able to have a free NHS flu jab – if they choose to do so. 

This is because the WHO classification of ME/CFS as a neurological disease is accepted by NHS England and catching flu (or COVID-19) is very likely to cause a significant exacerbation or relapse of ME/CFS symptoms 

The NHS flu vaccine website also makes it very clear that anyone with a long term neurological condition should be able to have a free flu jab.

Further evidence to support this eligibility for a free NHS flu jab, if you require it before publication of the new leaflet, can be found in the current MEA leaflet.

I will also include information on plans to administer a COVID-19 vaccine booster to selected groups of people in the Autumn 

At the moment it appears that the JCVI are moving away from giving a booster to anyone over the age of 50 and people who meet their vulnerable status and only giving boosters to those who are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 – which would not include most people with ME/CFS 

The new flu and COVID-19 vaccine leaflet should be available in mid September and it will be available on the MEA website as a free download  

Paper copies can be sent on request to the MEA office 

Dr Charles Shepherd 
Hon Medical Adviser, MEA 

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