People with flu and coronavirus more at risk of dying
PUBLISHED: 12:22 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:43 28 September 2020
People aged 50 and over in North Somerset are being encouraged to book up for a flu jab after new research shows those infected with the virus and Covid-19 are more at risk of severe illness and death.
A record number of people will be offered the flu jab for free this year to help protect more people and ease pressure on the NHS.
The drive comes as new research from Public Health England (PHE), suggests the risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu and Covid-19, compared to those with Covid-19 alone.
Research looking at cases between January and April this year, also found those co-infected with both viruses were more at risk of severe illness.
The flu vaccination programme is being rolled out to 30 million people this year – the highest number ever.
Dr Julie Yates, lead consultant for screening and immunisation at PHE South West said: “People might think that flu is just a cough or cold, but actually this serious illness can have devastating effects on people including causing death in some cases.
“Covid-19 is still circulating, and we expect co-circulation with flu this season. This winter, more than ever, it is important to minimise the number of people becoming unwell with flu and for people to have the flu vaccination if offered.
“More people than ever are eligible for the flu vaccination this year and I would encourage anyone invited to attend their appointment.”
Free flu vaccines are to be offered to all primary school children, two and three-year-olds, year seven pupils; and the most vulnerable – including adults aged 65-plus, those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women.
Priority will also go to household contacts of people on the NHS Shielded Patient List, and all health and social care workers who have direct contact with people in their care.
Once uptake has been maximised in the most at-risk groups, the newly-eligible 50 to 64 year olds will be invited for vaccination later in the season.
Employers of front-line health and social care workers also have a responsibility to ensure their staff can get the free vaccine.
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