- Boots reveals that over a third of its flu jab appointments are already booked – though there are still plenty of appointments available
- NHS GP and This Morning resident doctor Dr Sara Kayat, who is currently pregnant, visited Boots to receive her flu jab
- Dr Sara joined Boots Superintendent Pharmacist Claire Nevinson to encourage those eligible for the free NHS jab, including pregnant women, to book now.
NHS GP and This Morning resident doctor Dr Sara Kayat has joined Boots Superintendent Pharmacist Claire Nevinson to encourage all those eligible for a free NHS flu jab, including pregnant women, to book an appointment as soon as possible.
Dr Sara Kayat, who is currently in her third trimester of pregnancy, got her flu jab at Boots, highlighting its importance. Other groups eligible for the free NHS flu jab alongside pregnant women include people aged 65 and over, those with certain underlying health conditions, and some carers.
According to the UK Health Security Agency, only one third (35%) of pregnant women got a flu jab last season (2021-22), compared with two in five (37.9%) the year before (2020-21).1
Boots offers the free NHS flu jab at most of its stores* and a private service for people who are not eligible but still want to protect themselves from the virus this winter.** Although there are plenty of flu jab appointments available at Boots, over a third (37.7%) are already booked, with almost four in five (74.7%) patients booked eligible for the free NHS flu jab.***
Dr Sara said: “Pregnancy changes how the body responds to infections, which is why pregnant women like me are considered to be at increased risk of serious complications from flu.
“If you are pregnant, a flu jab helps protect you and some protection will be passed onto your baby too, lasting for the first few months of their lives.
“Pregnant women are eligible to have a flu jab during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. I encourage all pregnant women to have their flu jab this autumn.”
Claire Nevinson, Superintendent Pharmacist at Boots, also encourages pregnant women to book their flu jab as soon as possible, alongside all other groups eligible for a free NHS flu jab, including those over the age of 65, people with certain underlying health conditions, and carers.
Claire said: “The best time to have a flu jab is in the autumn, before the virus starts circulating. You can be vaccinated later in the winter although it's better to get it earlier as it can take around two weeks to get optimum protection. But don’t worry if you find out you're pregnant later in the flu season – you can have the jab then if you have not already had it.
“Flu can make you feel very unwell and may pose a serious risk to those considered to be vulnerable, which alongside pregnant women includes those over the age of 65, people with certain underlying health conditions, and some carers. If you fall under one of these groups, you are eligible for a free NHS flu jab and I encourage them to book their appointment as soon as they can.”
While she was at Boots, Dr Sara shared some answers to common questions she gets asked in the surgery about the flu jab. Here are her answers:
- Does the vaccination give you the flu? No. Injected flu vaccinations contain a tiny amount of an inactive flu virus that cannot give you the flu.
- Does it hurt? You may feel slightly sore where your jab was injected. Other side effects include a slightly raised temperature, muscle aches or a headache, but these tend to be mild and only last for a day or so.
- Do I need to get the flu jab every year? It is recommended to have the flu vaccination annually. This is because the flu virus evolves and changes over time, so each year new vaccinations are developed to match the new flu strains. Also, your protection declines over time.
To find out more and book a flu jab, visit boots.com/flu.
- 1 Seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in GP patients Winter season 2022 to 2023, UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA), June 2023.
- *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. Speak to a member of our pharmacy team or see boots.com/flu for more details.
- ** The Boots Private Winter Flu Jab Service is available at over 1,900 Boots stores. Service starts in September. Subject to specially trained pharmacist and stock availability. Eligibility criteria apply. Service costs £19.95 and £24.95 in Jersey. The service for those aged 11-15 is available in selected stores, injectable vaccine only. Appointments for those aged 11-15 are bookable in-store only. See boots.com/flu for more details.
- *** Boots Winter Flu Vaccination Service flu bookings data up to 17th September 2023, for appointments for the 2023-2024 season.