The last thing any of us want during winter is to catch a dreaded cold or even worse, Covid.

Spending Christmas Day in bed as loved ones celebrate the festivities is a rotten way to watch one of the most magical days of the year go by.

But although the height of the pandemic may seem like a distant memory for some, the virus is still circulating, especially throughout the colder months when more germs tend to fly around.

It’s now thought people are catching a “more severe bout of disease” as it’s been a while since the mass vaccination programme was rolled out, health professionals have warned.

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Professor Eleanor Riley, an immunologist at the University of Edinburgh told the BBC: “People's antibody levels against Covid are probably as low now as they have been since the vaccine was first introduced.

“Now, because antibodies are lower, a higher dose [of the virus] is getting through and causing a more severe bout of disease.”

Prof Peter Openshaw, from Imperial College London, said although he is not a “doomster”, he thinks there will be "a lot of people having a pretty nasty illness that is going to knock them out for several days or weeks.”

He added: “The thing that made the huge difference before was the very wide and fast rollout of vaccines - even young adults managed to get vaccinated, and that made an absolutely huge difference.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: When was the last time you had to do a Covid test?When was the last time you had to do a Covid test? (Image: Danny Lawson/PA)

"I'm also hearing of people having nasty bouts of Covid, who are otherwise young and fit. It's a surprisingly devious virus, sometimes making people quite ill and occasionally leading to having 'long Covid’.”

Professor Riley explained: "But that's not to say people who are under 65 are not going to get Covid, and are not going to feel pretty rough.

"I think the consequence of not boosting those people is we have more people who are off work for a week or two or three over winter."

Professor Openshaw went on to say that the viruses circulating now are “pretty distant immunologically” from the original virus which was used to make the early vaccines, or which last infected them.

"A lot of people have very little immunity to the Omicron viruses and their variants,” he said.

Professor Openshaw concluded that “we are not there yet" with Covid, but "with repeated infection, we should build up natural immunity.”