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When is the best time to get a flu jab to be protected for December? Boots Chief Pharmacist answers

10 November 2021
News Healthcare
  • As well as marking the start of festivities, December is typically when the flu virus starts to circulate
  • Boots’ Chief Pharmacist recommends people have their flu as soon as possible in November to protect themselves from the virus by December
  • With more than one million appointments still available, Boots is encouraging people to book their flu vaccination appointment as soon as they can

People should have their flu jab as soon as possible this November to protect themselves from the virus this flu season, which typically starts in December, according to Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots.

With flu cases in the UK usually highest in the winter months – from December to March – it is important that people are protected to help minimise the spread of the virus at Christmas parties and family get togethers.

Marc Donovan says: “The flu vaccine stimulates the immune system to respond to it by producing antibodies against the flu virus. The antibodies stay in your body so that if you’re exposed to the flu virus naturally, your immune system can recognise it, attack it and prevent it from causing flu. It typically takes between 10 and 14 days after having the flu jab for the body to develop enough antibodies.

“For example, people who have their jab by 17th November will be protected by 1st December. If you are unable to get protected before this recommended date though, please do not worry. It is important you still get vaccinated as early as possible, with flu season likely to last as long as March. And as with any vaccination, having the flu jab doesn't guarantee you won't get it, but if you do it's likely to be milder and not last as long.

“With COVID-19 still prevalent, it’s also important to get your COVID-19 booster if you are eligible. Having both offers those at greatest risk optimum protection from getting seriously unwell from these viruses in the coming months.”

Boots’ biggest ever flu vaccination season is currently underway. Though demand for Boots’ Winter Flu Jab Service is very high, there are still more than one million flu appointments available. Boots offers free flu jabs on behalf of the NHS* and privately for those who are not eligible for a free NHS flu jab**. The leading health and beauty retailer is also supporting the NHS to deliver COVID-19 booster jabs this winter to those who are eligible, at selected Boots pharmacies.

For more information and to book a flu jab, visit

*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 around 1,900 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 31 May 2024