Health chief - 'get your flu jab'
- Credit: Archant
People are being urged by a health chief to get jabbed for both flu and Covid-19 because of the threat of the viruses combining.
UK Health Security Agency chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said this year’s flu could be “multi-strain” and said that natural immunity is lower after last year’s lockdown saw much lower numbers affected than an average winter.
She said it is difficult to predict what will come with Covid-19 as immunity from vaccines wanes in some older people, but said she believes a winter lockdown is “highly unlikely”.
She told Times Radio: “I think it’s looking positive, but I would never say 100pc.”
This year will be the first time flu “in any real numbers” and Covid will be around at the same time, she said.
She added: “The risks of catching both together still remain.
"Early evidence suggests that you are twice as likely to die from having two together, than just having Covid alone.
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“I think it’s an uncertain winter ahead."
A study by Public Health England (PHE) showed that during the first peak of the pandemic, people who were infected with both coronavirus and flu had a significantly higher risk of death.
The research, published in September last year, saw data analysed in almost 20,000 people who were tested for both viruses between January 20 and April 25 2020.
Fifty-eight were identified as having “co-infection” of the two viruses and overall, 43pc of people with co-infection died compared to 27pc of those who tested positive for Covid-19 alone.
A spokesperson for NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: "People from Norfolk and Waveney can receive their flu vaccination from their GP surgery, a local pharmacy or via a number of dedicated clinics taking place led by our local hospitals.
"If you are pregnant you can receive the vaccine via your midwife and children from the age of two through to year 11 can receive the flu vaccine through their school.
"Everyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccine is being urged to take up the offer as it will reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus over the winter months."