33 million people urged to take their flu and Coronavirus jabs as health chiefs warn a potential ‘twindemic’
Health chiefs predict a difficult winter for the NHS if at risk groups fail to get their jabs
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More than 30 million people are being urged to get both their flu and Covid vaccines amid concerns of a ‘twindemic’ as Coronavirus cases begin to rise in England and Wales.
It comes as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) warned that there will be lower levels of immunity after less socialisation during the last few winter seasons.
Due to this, flu and other respiratory illnesses may pose a bigger threat which is why people in at risk groups are being encouraged to get their jabs.
Health agencies in Britain have studied flu patterns in Australia, who have just experienced their winter season.
The same strain expected in the UK this winter is also the one that caused about 20,000 deaths and 40,000 hospital admissions during the 2017/2018 flu season in Britain, according to the Financial Times.
Dr Susan Hopkins, who is UKSA chief medical adviser said "Flu and COVID-19 are unpredictable but there are strong indications we could be facing the threat of widely circulating flu.
“Lower levels of natural immunity due to less exposure over the last three winters and an increase in COVID-19 circulating with lots of variants that can evade the immune response.
"This combination poses a serious risk to our health, particularly those in high-risk groups.
"The H3N2 flu strain can cause particularly severe illness. If you are elderly or vulnerable because of other conditions you are at greater risk, so getting the flu jab is a sensible, potentially life-saving thing to do.
"We are extremely fortunate to have vaccines against these two diseases. Most eligible groups have been selected because they are at higher risk of severe illness.
"Younger children are unlikely to have built up any natural immunity to flu and therefore it is particularly important they take the nasal spray vaccine this year.
"So, if you are offered a jab, please come forward to protect yourself and help reduce the burden on our health services."
What are some common flu symptoms?
According to the NHS some common flu symptoms include:
- A sudden high temperature of 38C or above
- An aching body
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- A dry cough
- A sore throat
- A headache
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhoea or tummy pain
- Feeling sick and being sick