Everyone is at risk of getting the flu, but certain population groups are at higher risk and it is therefore more important for these groups to receive the flu vaccine.
According to the World health Organization, the following population groups should receive an annual flu vaccination.
Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant, particularly during the second and third trimesters. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization.
Children aged between 6 months to 5 years
Children younger than five years of age - especially those younger than 2 years old - are at high risk of serious complications. A flu vaccine offers the best defense against getting flu and spreading it to others.
Elderly individuals (aged more than 65 years)
It has been recognized for many years that people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults because human immune defenses become weaker with age.
Individuals aged more than 50 years
People aged over 50 years are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu because human immune defenses become weaker with age.
Individuals with chronic medical conditions
People with long-term chronic medical conditions, including asthma, heart disease and liver disease, are at high risk of the flu and should speak to their healthcare provider for advice on receiving the annual flu vaccine.
Flu can spread rapidly within hospital and medical settings because flu is so contagious. Therefore, all healthcare workers, both clinical and non-clinical, should receive the flu vaccine to protect themselves, their patients, colleagues and families from the flu.