BRITS have been urged to come forward for flu jabs this year in order to tackle a 'challenging winter'.
But if you've still not booked yours, experts have warned you have just four days to get the jab in order to ensure protection for Christmas.
Flu can lead to serious complications for people living with underlying health issues.
Experts at the UK's Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have said that you need to get the jab by December 10 in order to have protection on Christmas Day.
More of us will be mingling this year, which makes it easier for infections and viruses to spread.
If you're living with a condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease or a chronic neurological disease like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy, then you're more susceptible to the flu.
Data shows that people with these underlying health issues and respiratory and heart conditions are 11 times more likely to die if they catch the flu, compared to otherwise healthy adults.
Pregnant women are also at an increased risk of serious complications and are eligible for the jab to protect themselves and their babies.
Around 35 millions Brits are eligible for a free jab and pharmacies such as Boots also offer the vaccine for those who aren't eligible, but who want extra protection this winter.
If you're eligible you can book through your GP or your local pharmacy and pregnant women can get the jab through maternity services.
Many Brits aged 65 and over have already come forward for a flu jab and Brits have exceeded the World Health Organisation's (WHOs) target of 75 per cent.
But despite a high number in this age group having come forward, less than half of those with underlying health issues have come forward for their jabs.
Just 34.4 per cent of pregnant women have also come forward for their flu vaccine.
Experts say that infections of flu are still low but will peak in January – with the best way to stay protected including getting vaccinated and keeping up with good hygiene measures.
These measures include making use of ventilation, staying home if you feel unwell and good hand hygiene.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said that getting flu jabs and coronavirus booster vaccines is the most important thing people can do for their families this winter.
“Record numbers of people took up the offer of a free flu vaccine last year and the programme is expanding even further this year, with a record 35 million people in England eligible.
“Don’t delay – book your flu vaccine as soon as possible", he added.
Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA said that the threat of flu is still lingering.
He said: "It can cause serious illness and be fatal. Flu vaccination saves lives. If you are eligible, you don’t have to wait to be called up – book your flu vaccine as soon as possible to help protect yourself and family this Christmas.”
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