HAMPSHIRE residents are being urged to book their flu jabs to ensure they are protected as soon as possible.

Since this year’s flu vaccination programme began last month, 192,000 doses have been administered across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Eligible people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are being urged to book their flu jabs today and not wait until they are invited for their COVID-19 booster vaccination to ensure they are protected as soon as possible.

Flu is a highly infectious virus that is spread from person to person and infects the respiratory system, where it can lead to pneumonia and other complications.

The flu viruses are constantly changing, and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually.

Each year the flu vaccination is available free on the NHS to help protect those most at risk from the virus and their loved ones from flu and its complications.

Those who are in certain at risk categories, such as over 65 and under 65s with a long term condition, are more likely to be at risk of developing complications if they catch flu.

Dr Nigel Watson, clinical lead for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said: “This year, where possible, we are offering the COVID-19 booster jab alongside the flu vaccination.

"However, we are urging all those eligible for a flu vaccine to not wait for their booster vaccination invitation.

"Many people will not be eligible to have the booster jab until early next year so it is important that people get their flu jabs now.

“The best time to have the flu vaccine is now before the flu virus starts spreading.

"Unfortunately, more people are likely to get flu this winter, as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you.”

You can have the NHS flu vaccine at your GP surgery, a pharmacy offering the service, your midwifery service if you're pregnant or a hospital appointment.