With less than three weeks until Christmas, health experts are urging people to get their flu jab booster to ensure that they are protected over the holidays as much as possible
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As the country makes its way through the winter, Brits have been urged to get their flu booster jabs to contain the virus in the colder months.
But, with less than three weeks until families across the country get together for Christmas Day, experts have warned that time is running out for people to be protected on the day.
The UK’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have said that Brits have just four days to get the extra jab.
To ensure maximum protection, especially for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, they have given the deadline December 10 to get the booster.
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This date ensures that enough time has passed for the jab to reach full affect before families mingle to enjoy the festivities.
The booster jab is available on the NHS for people who are aged 50 and over, have certain health conditions, live or work in a care home, are pregnant or work in health and social care.
In England, more than 35 million people are eligible for a free flu vaccine this winter.
Eligible individuals can get their flu booster at their GP surgery, at a pharmacy that offers the service, or a midwifery service for those who are pregnant.
The UKHSA emphasises the need for people to get the jab over winter as typically levels ramp up over the colder months.
While many people aged 65 and over have already come forward for their flu vaccination, exceeding the WHO target of 75%, less than half of those with underlying health conditions have taken up the offer.
The amount of pregnant women opting for the jab is also lower than other groups, with just 34.4% vaccinated so far this season.
Flu can have particularly severe implications for those living with a long-term health condition, including respiratory and heart conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease or a chronic neurological disease.
The flu is highly infectious and according to UKHSA, those with health issues are 11 times more likely to die if they catch flu compared to healthy adults.
In the UK, eligible ethnic minority groups are particularly less likely to have had the flu jab, with those from a Black Caribbean and Black African heritage making up the lowest uptake.
UKHSA is urging people from these groups to come forward and book their flu jabs as soon as possible.
The NHS website states that most adults can have the flu vaccine, those who have had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past should avoid it.
Those who have egg allergies are particularly cautioned as some flu vaccines contain eggs, and anyone with this allergy wishing to have a jab should consult with a doctor or pharmacist first.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.