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Boots kicks starts its biggest ever Winter Flu Jab programme with the first vaccination of the season

17 September 2021
News Healthcare
  • Boots administers the flu vaccination to a patient at its London Piccadilly store – its first vaccination appointment of the season
  • Boots kick starts is biggest ever Winter Flu Jab programme to record demand, reporting a two-thirds (67%) year-on-year increase in bookings
  • Bina Mehta, Pharmacist at Boots Piccadilly, advises people to book their flu vaccination appointment as soon as possible

This morning (Friday 17th September), Boots’ first Winter Flu Jab appointment of the season took place in the health and beauty retailer’s store at Piccadilly, London. Mary Armstrong (77) from Kent was administered a free NHS flu jab at the store at 8.15am.

The appointment kick starts Boots’ largest Winter Flu Jab programme in history, which opens to record demand. Bookings are up two-thirds (67%) compared to last year, with over one-third of appointments at Boots already reserved for pre-booked private and NHS patients.*

Boots also reports that it has seen a greater number of appointments booked by those eligible for a free NHS flu jab compared to previous years, comprising three-quarters (74%) of its bookings to date for this season compared to an average of half (50%) of bookings in the last five years. Nearly two-fifths (39%) of bookings are by over 65s.*

Boots’ Winter Flu Jab Service offers free flu jabs on behalf of the NHS to those who are eligible**. For those who are not eligible for a free NHS flu jab Boots offers the flu vaccination privately *** and is available at most Boots stores. Boots also offers a Corporate Flu Vaccination Service to employers. With around 90% of the population estimated to be within 10 minutes of a Boots store, it is one of the most accessible and convenient options for patients.

Boots will also support the NHS to deliver COVID-19 booster jabs roll out this winter season at vaccination hubs in select pharmacies, building on its delivery of nearly 800,000 first and second COVID-19 vaccinations since January 2021. Stores that will offer COVID-19 boosters will be confirmed soon following discussions with the NHS.

With two-thirds of appointments for Boots’ Winter Flu Jab Service still available, Bina Mehta, Pharmacists at Boots Piccadilly who administered Mary’s flu vaccination, is advising patients to book their appointment now in order to protect themselves, their loved ones and the NHS this winter.

Bina said: “With low prevalence over the past year or so possibly leading to a drop in flu immunity among the population, vaccinating against flu is even more important than in previous years. You can help to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu by booking a vaccination appointment as early as possible.

She added: “Many adults will be eligible for both a COVID-19 booster and a free NHS flu jab – having both offers optimum protection from getting seriously unwell from these viruses in the coming months.”

 To encourage patients to book their flu vaccination, Bina has also answered the top six common questions that patients are asking Boots at its pharmacies and on social media. 

  1. I am eligible for a COVID-19 booster jab. Should I wait to book my flu vaccine and is it suitable to get both?

“If you are eligible for the COVID-19 booster jab as well as the free NHS flu jab, it is suitable to take both this Winter. I would advise booking your flu jab now if you can, to ensure you are protected from flu as early as possible. From next week eligible patients will be invited by the NHS to book their COVID-19 booster.” 

  1. Are over 50s eligible for the flu jab for free on the NHS?

“Yes. This year the NHS will offer the flu vaccination free of charge for patients who are 50 years old and over, including those who will be 50 by 31st March 2022. The free flu vaccination is offered to eligible groups including people with certain health conditions.” 

  1. If I am not entitled to a free NHS flu jab, can I get one privately?

“I would recommend getting a flu jab privately if you’re not eligible for a free one. While you’re not at a higher risk from the effects of or complications from flu than those in more vulnerable groups, it can still help to protect you from getting unwell and provide greater protection to those around you.” 

  1. When should I get my flu jab?

“Ideally you should try to have your flu vaccination before the end of November, before the flu season is at its peak. The earlier you are vaccinated against flu, the earlier you are protected. The more people who are vaccinated against flu, the more protection there is for you and those around you.” 

  1. Should I get my flu jab even if I’ve had both COVID-19 vaccines?

“The COVID-19 vaccination can help to provide protection against COVID-19 but will not protect you from the flu virus. The best way to help protect yourself and others from flu is to have the flu jab every year. Over time, protection from the flu jab gradually decreases and flu strains can change, which means last year's jab may not protect you from this year's strains. There may also be an increase in flu cases this autumn due to the lack of exposure to the flu virus last winter driven by reduced social interaction.” 

  1. Should I get the flu jab if I’m pregnant?

“The flu vaccination is recommended to all pregnant women as it can help protect you and your baby. The NHS offers the flu vaccinations for free to pregnant women. The flu vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy and will help protect you from getting unwell with flu.”

For more information and to book a flu jab, visit

*Covering the period from 1 July to 6 September in 2021 compared to the same period the previous year.

**If you’re eligible for the free NHS flu jab, it is available in most Boots pharmacies in England and Wales for customers aged 18+. Eligibility for a free NHS flu jab may be different in the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Those living in areas where the free NHS flu jab is not available at Boots can, if eligible, get this through their GP and/or vaccination hubs in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Eligibility criteria apply. Subject to availability.

***If you're not eligible for a free NHS flu jab, you may want to consider booking the Boots private Winter Flu Jab Service, Subject to stock and pharmacist availability. Eligibility criteria apply. Service costs £14.99 in England, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Service costs £19.99 in Jersey.


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023