Flu season is an annual occurrence, with seasonal influenza returning in the winter and infection millions worldwide. With the UK still reeling from the impacts of coronavirus and continuing rising cases, those eligible for a flu jabs have been urged to get one before December.
Flu season typically begins in December, but there have been some instances of it starting as early as October.
The flu jab provides protection against this year’s strain of flu, ensuring those who could develop complications or severe symptoms do not do so.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has increased the capacity for flu vaccinations this year, in order to prevent the double whammy of flu and coronavirus on the already stretched NHS.
However the increased numbers getting the vaccine has already thrown up some issues, with some providers suspending bookings to catch up with demand.
The Government has also pledged to extend the vaccine to Year Seven pupils and anyone aged 50 and over.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in July: “It’s mission critical that we pull out all the stops to get ready for winter, and the Prime Minister has already announced £3 billion to protect the NHS.
“We are now taking another important step to help protect the wider public by giving the flu vaccination to more people than ever before.
“This will be the biggest flu vaccination programme in history, and will help protect our NHS as we head into winter.
“If you are eligible for a free vaccine, whether it’s for the first time or because you usually receive one, then I would urge you to get it, not just to protect yourself, but to protect the NHS and your loved ones, from flu.”
If you had the flu jab last year you should still get it this year as the flu mutates each year – meaning your last vaccine will not protect you.
If you are not eligible for the free NHS vaccine but still want to get the jab, you can opt to do so privately.
This costs up to £15 and is available at most pharmacies.