Health officials fear 'twindemic' of Covid and flu

time:2023-05-31 01:10:01 source:The New York Times

Health officials in the South West have urged eligible people to get their flu and Covid vaccines as soon as possible amid fears of a winter "twindemic".

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said it was concerned a wave of flu could sweep the region at the same time as a surge in Covid.

The authority said lower levels of natural immunity to flu had increased the risk.

There were early signs that Covid rates are beginning to rise, officials said.

In England, a Covid booster is being offered to over-50s, people in care homes, health and social care workers and and at-risk groups.

Over-65s, health and social care workers, people in care homes and at-risk groups can receive a free flu jab.

The service will be expanded to everyone aged over 50 from mid-October.

UKHSA South West deputy director professor Dominic Mellon said it was vital to be inoculated against both Covid and flu to reduce the risk of being admitted to hospital.

"Undoubtedly the best protection we have is to get vaccinated," he said.

"The jabs are there to protect you and the rest of your family from a potentially very serious illness this winter and so I urge all those eligible in the South West to come forward and have their jabs when offered."

NHS vaccinations and screening director Steve Russell added: "This winter could be the first time we see the effects of the so called 'twindemic' with both Covid and flu in full circulation.

"If you have been offered a flu vaccination or Covid booster you should book in as soon as possible and with more vaccination centres than ever before this year, they are quick, convenient and will provide vital protection this winter."

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