Flu jab sales have more than doubled in the first week of 2018, compared with the same period last year, Superdrug has revealed.
It recorded a “staggering” 166 per cent rise in flu jab sales at the beginning of the year.
Aussie flu fears were likely to have caused the drastic rise in sales, it claimed.
At least 23 people have died from flu in the UK this winter so far.
“We have seen an unusually high demand for both the trivalent and quadrivalent flu vaccination in Superdrug stores this winter period,” said Superdrug’s Pharmacy Superintendent, Kathryn Goodfellow.
“We expect that the widespread coverage of Aussie flu is the cause for this surge in uptake.”
“We’re also seeing a trend from employers wanting to vaccinate their workforces to prevent further lost work days due to sickness, with a 48 per cent year-on-year increase in corporate flu activity this winter period already.”
Aussie flu is caused by the influenza A H3N2 virus strain. Some trivalent and quadrivalent flu vaccines could protect against the specific flu strain.
Aussie flu is similar to normal flu, but symptoms are much more severe, and tend to last longer.
While normal flu symptoms tend to subside within a week, Aussie flu can last longer. The deadly virus can also lead to pneumonia and other severe respiratory complications, that are specific to Aussie flu.
Symptoms of the condition include headaches, fevers, muscle aches, sore throats and coughs.
Flu has caused a number of deaths in the UK and in Australia, as the Australian flu vaccine is ineffective against the H3N2 virus.
Superdrug’s Health and Wellbeing Ambassador, Dr Pixie McKenna, said: “The flu jab is suitable for anyone to have and is especially important if they already have medical problems such as asthma, diabetes or if you’re pregnant.
“Getting the flu jab is important for looking after others too, especially if you’re a carer looking after an elderly relative who could have a lower immune system, or in a career where you’re more exposed to picking up the flu.
“That includes if you’re a teacher, or someone who can’t spare the time to rest and recover from being ill, including parents of young children.”
Superdrug offers the free NHS flu jab in its pharmacies across the UK, for those who are eligible for it.
It’s trivalent flu jab is available for £9.99, while the quadrivalent flu jab costs £11.99.