The last date to get your flu jab so you can hug your family at Christmas
AS the Christmas season approaches, Brits are getting into the festive spirit once more.
Experts have warned that getting your flu jab is imperative this year to keep your loved ones safe this December.
December is just weeks away and with it comes gift exchanges with friends and family, Christmas parties and travelling for miles to spend time with those most important to us.
But this year, you should make sure November 17 is firmly in your calendar – as experts say this is the latest date you should book in for your flu jab, to ensure you are fully protected in time for the start of the festive season.
Boots UK’s Chief Pharmacist Marc Donovan said flu cases in the UK are highest between December and March.
He explained: "The flu vaccine stimulates the immune system to respond to it by producing antibodies against the flu virus.
"The antibodies stay in your body so that if you’re exposed to the flu virus naturally, your immune system can recognise it, attack it and prevent it from causing flu."
Typically it takes between 10 and 14 days after having the flu jab for the body to develop enough antibodies – which is why you need to make sure you get yours booked in before Christmas.
Marc added: "People who have their jab by 17 November will be protected by 1 December.
"As with any vaccination, having the flu jab doesn't guarantee you won't get flu, however, if you do it's likely to be milder and not last as long."
The flu jab is a safe and effective shot that is offered every year on the NHS and through high street pharmacies such as Boots to help protect people at risk of getting seriously ill.
More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the Covid-19 pandemic.
While some people are eligible to get the flu jab free on the NHS you can also pay for it privately through pharmacies such as Boots for £14.99.
People who are 50 and over, who have certain health conditions and are pregnant are eligible for a free flu jab through the NHS.
But Marc said you shouldn't panic if you can't get your flu jab booked in before November as it's still important to get vaccinated as soon as possible, as flu season is likely to last until at least March.
“With Covid-19 still prevalent, it’s also important to get your Covid-19 booster if you are eligible. Having both offers those at greatest risk optimum protection from getting seriously unwell from these viruses in the coming months", he added.
How to book your flu jab at Boots
First you need to visit the Boots winter flu page.
You then click the blue 'book now' button which will direct you to the next page where you can pick which nation you live in.
Once you have selected your nation, you will then be prompted to select your age group.
Depending on your answer, you might need to state whether or not you will turn 50 years old on or before 31st March 2022, as this will determine whether or not you are eligible for a free flu vaccine through the NHS.
You will also be asked if you are pregnant, and whether you have any of the following health conditions:
- Asthma (treated with a preventer inhaler)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other long-term lung condition
- A long-term heart condition
- Kidney or liver disease
- A neurological condition such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease or MS
- A learning disability
- A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more (severely overweight)
Deputy Chief Medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van Tam previously said people should take up the offer of Covid boosters and flujabs.
It was yesterday reported that Covid booster jabs are set to be given out annually in order to protect people from the threat of new variants.
Ex-vaccine czar Nadhim Zahawi revealed the plan as those having a top-up passed ten million yesterday.
But Mr Zahawi, now Education Secretary, told The Sun there was no need for under-11s to be offered the jab.
On yearly boosters, he said: “Ultimately our plan, we will, I hope be the first major economy to transition from pandemic to endemic and have an annual vaccination programme.”
Downing Street insiders stressed ministers were not yet at the stage of planning annual jabs — but they would keep all data under review, given how immunity waned over time.
Any measures will not come in until at least next winter, it is understood.
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