More Somerset residents than ever are being encouraged to get their flu vaccine as new Public Health England research suggests that the risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu and coronavirus (COVID-19), compared to those with coronavirus alone.
They looked at cases between January and April this year and found that people infected with both flu and coronavirus were more at risk of severe illness and death. Most cases were in older people and sadly more than half of them died.
Flu is a serious condition that kills on average 11,000 people in England each year and hospitalises many more. Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from coronavirus, so the free vaccine is more important than ever to help protect people in Somerset from a double threat this winter and ease pressure on the NHS.
This year the free flu vaccination programme is being expanded and will be offered to 30 million people, the highest number ever.
All primary school children and, for the first time, Year 7 children will be offered the flu ‘nasal spray’ in schools to reduce community transmission. Two and three-year-olds will be offered the vaccine through their GP.
The most vulnerable, including adults aged 65 and over, those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women, will be offered the flu vaccine first through their GP or pharmacy.
The flu vaccine will also be offered to household contacts of people on the NHS Shielded Patient List and all health and social care workers who have direct contact with the people they care for.
Once the most at-risk groups have had their free flu jab, the newly eligible 50 to 64 year olds will be invited to get theirs later in the season.