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Our Flu Vaccines

Flu vaccines are not all the same

We offer flu vaccines from all of the leading brands that are licensed in the UK and strongly believe in offering our patients the best possible choice of types and technologies. This year, we have more choice than ever before.

We offer no fewer than 5 main types of vaccine (13 different vaccines in total), including an egg-free option for those allergic to eggs.

They all cover the 3 main strains expected this winter (two "A" strains plus one "B")

The main differences between them are:

  • How the vaccine is given (standard needle, extra tiny needle, children's nasal spray)
  • How the vaccine virus is grown (in eggs, or in egg-free cell culture)
  • How the vaccine works (whether it only produces antibodies only, or "cell mediated immunity" as well)
  • Number of strains covered: This year, for the second year running, there is a new "tetravalent" or "quadrivalent" type that protects against an additional fourth strain (two "A" and two "B" strains in total). It is likely that four-strain vaccines will replace three-strain vaccines in future - it is just a matter of time and cost.
  • Cost ("standard, premium or platinum" brands costing £25, £30 and £35-£40 per dose respectively). Note that the vaccine cost includes the fee of the doctor or nurse giving the vaccine during our "walk-in" hours only (09:00 - 17:00, Monday to Friday). (For evening clinics, it is necessary to book an appointment with one of our doctors, at additional cost.)

Standard vaccines

This year we have no fewer than five brands of standard flu vaccines available. They are made from surface antigens (proteins for the surface of killed flu viruses) or viral fragments. These are the type of flu vaccines in longest use. More choice means less risk of supply problems (which are very common with flu vaccines), and a better chance of matching the right vaccine with each person's medical needs. These vaccines are the commonest choice for companies and groups.

These vaccines give good immunity to the three predicted 2014/15 winter flu strains only, and are suitable for all ages above 6 months.

"Premium" Vaccines

We offer the following premium vaccines:

Intradermal vaccines

In 2010, a new intradermal vaccine became available in the UK. This uses a reduced vaccine dose that is injected into the topmost skin layer, with some possible advantages in improving the immune response, especially in older age groups and in people with reduced immunity. Because this vaccine is injected only into the top-most layer of the skin, it causes no muscle soreness afterwards.The needle is tiny and almost painless, though the vaccine may sting slighly as it enters the skin.

  • Tiny needle, almost painless
  • They give good immunity to 3 predicted 2014/15 winter flu strains only.
  • They have the same ingredients as "standard" vaccines
  • Giving vaccine into top layer of skin enhances the immune effect
  • Adults (over 18) only
  • Special higher dose version for over 60s

Virosomal vaccines (Will not be available for the 2014/15 season)

Virosomal vaccines contain the reconstituted virus membrane, including its outer coat, in virus-shaped and sized particles (but without its core of genetic material). Virosomal vaccines stimulate "cell-mediated immunity" in addition to the usual antibody response, and are therefore considered to produce a broader degree of protection (i.e. protection that may extend beyond the exact strains from which the vaccine was produced). 

  • Injection of virus-shaped particles that trigger both antibody production and "cell-mediated immunity"
  • Produce "broader" immune protection - beyond the exact viral strains used to produce the vaccine.
  • Adults (over 18) only

"Platinum" brands

We offer the following "platinum" vaccines:

Quadrivalent / Tetravelent - 4-Strain vaccine

2014/15 is the second season that this vaccine has become available in th UK. In addition to the three standard strains included in all of the other vaccines, this vaccine includes protection against a further strain of influenza "B". In all other respects, it is similar to "standard" vaccines.  

  • Protects against an additional fourth strain - so, 2 "A" strains and 2 "B" strains - unlike any other vaccine
  • Injection of killed viral fragments
  • Gives good immunity to 4 predicted 2014/15 winter flu strains only.

Nasal Spray Children's vaccine -

These vaccines contain live viruses that have been weakened and cannot cause infection. They work by generating local immmunity within the upper respiratory tract. They have been shown to be more effective than other options for protecting children, and have the additional benefit of not requiring injection - they are given in the form of a nasal spray, administered by a doctor or nurse. The vaccine virus survives only under the lower temperature conditions of the nose and upper respiratory passages, but dies at full body temperature, so cannot cause harmful infection.

  • Needle-free, sprayed directly into the nose
  • Recommended for children and young adults from the age of 2 years
  • Contains live viruses that have been weakened and cannot cause infection
  • Mimics effect of real virus on the immune system, producing powerful protection
  • Produced in vero cell culture, contains gelatine, may be unsuitable for observant Jews / Muslims

Egg-free vaccines

This year, we will have a very limited supply of a surface-antigen vaccine produced in cell culture. This vaccine is free from all traces of egg protein, and no antibiotics are used in its production. This is an excellent option for anyone concerned about possible allergies or sensitivities.

  • Unlike other vaccines, contains no egg proteins
  • Contain virus surface proteins or killed viral fragments
  • Produced in MDKC cell culture, may be unsuitable for observant Jews / Muslims