Should you get a flu jab ahead of winter? Here's everything you need to know

While some are skipping into winter clutching their pumpkin spiced latte, others are bracing for the cold and the return of their SAD.

But whether you love or hate the change of seasons, the spike in flu cases around this time of year is something that none of us look forward to.

Getting the flu jab is the best way to help protect you and those around you against catching and spreading the virus.

Since the Covid pandemic, we all know just how important vaccines are.

And after two years of restrictions and lockdowns, the NHS is predicting a surge in cases due to low immunity.

They’re also warning of a ‘twindemic’ – that flu and Covid could strike at the same time, and develop as early as October.

There’s never been a more important time to get the flu jab, and Lesley White, pharmacist at Boots, is urging people to book in.

She tells ‘No vaccination is 100% effective, but being vaccinated helps protect you against the strains of flu virus contained in the vaccination and if you do get flu after vaccination, it’s likely to be milder and not last as long.

‘It’s particularly important for certain groups of people, including those with weakened immune systems, those 65 years and over, pregnant women and for those with certain health conditions, to get a flu jab.’

And what about if you already got the jab last year? Lesley says it’s time to take another trip to the pharmacist.

She says, ‘Over time, protection from the flu jab gradually decreases, so it’s important to keep up to date and get your flu jab every year in the autumn or early winter (before flu starts spreading).’

Boots offer a free flu jab service for eligible adults, and a private winter flu jab services at a wide range of Boots locations.

The service costs £16.99, or £21.99 in Jersey.

Leslie explains, ‘At the appointment, the pharmacist will check to make sure you are eligible for the vaccination and it’s appropriate for you to have the vaccination on the day.

‘They will then discuss the most common side effects and obtain your consent ‘before administering the vaccination which will be injected into your upper arm.

As with all medicines, there may be some side effects, such as a slightly raised temperature, muscle aches or a sore arm where the needle went in, but these are usually mild and should disappear within a day or two.

‘It takes 10 to 14 days for the vaccination to be effective.’

The Boots private Winter Flu Jab Service is available at over 1,950 Boots stores. Subject to specially trained pharmacist and stock availability. Eligibility criteria apply.

The free NHS (or other locally funded) flu jab is available in most Boots pharmacies in England and Wales and in some Boots pharmacies in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey. Also available in our Isle of Man pharmacy. Eligibility criteria apply and vary with locality. Subject to availability. Some people who do not meet the requirements for a free NHS (or other locally funded) flu jab in pharmacies can access the flu jab from their GP or in Scotland, at a vaccination centre.

See for more details or speak to a member of the pharmacy team.

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