Health officials in England are urging pregnant women and those over 65 to get the flu shot, after a fall in take-up compared to this time last year.

Paul Cosford, medical director at PHE, said only around 40% of pregnant women and 65% of over-65s had been vaccinated so far.

“It is even more important than ever that all those eligible take up the offer of the flu vaccine, especially before Christmas when many people will be gathering together with the added risk of spreading infection that this brings,” he said.

PHE said there is strong evidence that pregnant women have a much higher risk of serious illness as a result of flu compared with the general population, with the risks highest in the last three months of pregnancy.