Flu jab vital this winter along with Covid vaccine

The public are being reminded to come forward for their flu jab to maximise their protection ahead of winter.

Health officials are worried because this will be the first winter Covid and flu circulate fully at the same time.

Research shows those infected with both viruses are more than twice as likely to die as someone with Covid alone.

More than 40 million people across the UK – 35 million in England – are being offered a jab this year in the biggest flu vaccination campaign so far.

And this includes, for the first time, all secondary-school children up to the age of 16.

“This is the first winter where we will have seasonal flu and Covid co-circulating.”

‘Get vaccinated’

Alongside the extended flu campaign, the over-50s and younger adults with health conditions are also being offered a Covid booster jab this autumn and winter.

Dr Jenny Harries, head of the newly formed UK Health Security Agency, warned the level of immunity to flu was likely to be lower this winter because very little of the virus had been circulating last year, because of social distancing and lockdown.

“It is really important people get vaccinated,” she said.

“This is the first winter where we will have seasonal flu and Covid co-circulating.”

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The warning comes as the government launches an advertising campaign, featuring TV medics Dr Amir Khan, Dr Dawn Harper and Dr Karan Ranj, to encourage those eligible to come forward for both the flu and Covid boosters.

The following groups are among those eligible for winter vaccines:

  • over-50s (Covid booster and flu jab)
  • younger people with health conditions (Covid booster and flu jab)
  • health and care workers (Covid booster and flu jab)
  • pregnant women (flu jab)
  • two- to 16-year-olds (flu jab)

Flu kills about 11,000 people every winter in England and, combined with other respiratory illness, leads to more than 1,000 hospital admissions a day – more, currently, than Covid.


Flu deaths chart


And this winter, respiratory illness could hit very high levels, causing severe strain on the NHS and up to 60,000 deaths, according to a report from the Academy of Medical Colleges.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the leading cause of hospital admission in the under-fives, is already circulating at much higher levels than normal.

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