It may be time to get your flu shot. And if you haven’t gotten the Covid vaccination, that too.
Health experts are issuing warnings of the risk of getting both the flu and Covid, calling it a “twindemic.”
Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency Jenny Harries, who is also the former deputy chief medical officer for England, encouraged people to get both their Covid and flu vaccines this winter in order to reduce the chance of serious illness.
Harries warned of multiple strains of flu in the winter, and that this year is the first time Covid and the flu are co-circulating. The potential for a ‘multi-strain flu’ remains possible following a drop of flu cases to low levels during the pandemic.
She said that people underestimate the risk of the flu every year, but this year it was important to recognize the co-circulation of the disease alongside Covid.
Early evidence suggests you are twice as likely to die from having both together, than just having Covid alone.
The flu vaccine this year contains four stains to help protect against the illness. The development of the vaccine to include four strains came after advise from the World Health Organization, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, and studying diseases in southern hemispheres where the winter and flu season arrived earlier.
However, Professor Martin Marshall, council chair of the Royal College of GPs in the UK, has said that if the flu virus does have multiple mutations, there is a risk a vaccination may be less effective. Despite that, Marshall said it is still by far the most effective method against getting the flu.
Over the past five years, about 11,000 have died with flu-related conditions. The Academy of Medical Scientists predicts this could go up to 60,000 in this year alone.