Flu Jabs:

CFS/ME and the Flu jab – should I have it?

As summer turns to autumn and the first coughs and sneezes of the season begin, we are often asked by our clients whether of not they should have the flu jab.

Each year to reflect the predicted changes to the flu virus a new vaccination is released, so to maintain protection the jab must be given annually. 

For individuals in the peak of good health having flu can result in a miserable few days with a high fever and other associated symptoms, but for others there is the risk of developing serious complications.

Vaccination is therefore offered free by the NHS to anyone who falls into an at-risk group

The list includes people with several pre-existing health conditions, including:

  • neurological and immunological diseases,
  • heart and respiratory diseases,
  • pregnant women,
  • obesity
  • the over-65’s (or who will be by 31st March 2019)


CFS/ME is classified as a neurological disease by the World Health Organisation and recognised as such by the Department of Health so those with the condition should be able to access the vaccination free of charge.

CFS/ME and adverse reactions to the flu vaccine

The only published piece of research done on this topic reports that the risk of adverse reaction to the vaccination is not any higher for those with CFS/ME than for other individuals in an at-risk group.

 Reference: Influenza Vaccination: Is it appropriate for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? American Journal of Respiratory Medicine 2002,1: 3-9).

Anecdotally the verdict is split between those who did not think it affected their CFS/ME symptoms and those that did.

Our recommendation

At South Coast Fatigue we always suggest that our clients, in conjunction with the GP, consider what other factors might put them at greater risk of complications if they were to catch the flu, such as having a respiratory problem or being very immobile or bedbound?


The best cure is prevention, so if possible avoid anyone who has cold or flu symptoms and follow good hygiene practices: 

Always wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, as well as:

  • regularly cleaning surfaces such as your computer keyboard, telephone and door handles to get rid of germs
  • using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • putting used tissues in a bin as soon as possible


Further information



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