Research shows those infected with both viruses are more than twice as likely to die as someone with covid alone.
Experts are predicting that there could be a significant flu surge this winter coinciding with continuing or rising covid cases. This is due to colder weather which favours transmission, darker nights which mean increased social contact indoors where it is less well ventilated, and expected lower immunity to flu due to lower levels in circulation last winter.
A recent survey conducted by Opinium seeking views from 3,000 participants found that nearly one third (32%) were unaware that flu and covid can circulate at the same time, over a quarter (26%) did not know that flu can be fatal and over half (55%) underestimated the number of people who die from flu in an average year in England (which is approximately 11,000).
The government has launched its Winter Vaccination campaign film highlighting how much people are underestimating the combined threat of flu and COVID-19. The film can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQitHbIXyN8.
In Lincolnshire there are various options available to people who want to get their covid booster and/or their flu vaccination, including the county’s vaccination centres, GP practices and community pharmacies.
“Both these viruses are serious: they can both spread easily, cause hospitalisation and they can both be fatal. So, it’s vital that people in Lincolnshire get their vaccines as soon as they can,” explains Rebecca Neno, Director of Covid and Influenza Vaccination Programmes for NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which represents the network of GP practices across the county.
“For the first time we will have covid and flu co-circulating. Not many people got flu last year because of COVID-19 restrictions, so there isn’t as much natural immunity in our communities as usual. We will see flu circulate this winter; it might be higher than usual and that makes it a significant public health concern.”
More than 40,000 COVID-19 booster vaccinations have been given in Lincolnshire so far, according to the CCG. People who are eligible, including all health and care staff, care home residents, people at risk, carers and people over the age of 50, will be invited by their GP or by the NHS as six months elapses after their second vaccine. Everyone is encouraged to book their appointment as soon as they receive their invitation.
In Lincolnshire health officials are seeing a good demand for flu vaccinations and, while there has been some disruption to supply, overall they say they now have good flu vaccine availability across the county.
This year, people who are eligible for the flu vaccination include those aged 50 plus, two and three-year olds, school children up to year 11, pregnant women, health and care staff, people who are at risk and households of immunosuppressed people. Anyone eligible can get their jab through their GP or by going to a community pharmacist.
To date, 82.7% of those aged 18 and over in Lincolnshire have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. If people have been putting off their first dose, they can make a booking at www.nhs.uk or find a walk in site via the same website.
Covid booster vaccinations are not be available on a walk-in basis and patients must have a confirmed appointment before attending our vaccination centres.
There are walk-in opportunities available to people aged 16 and over on a ‘first come, first served’ basis for first and second vaccinations as follows (people aged 16 and 17 only require one covid vaccination).
There are at: PRSA MVC, Boston – will be open Tuesday October 19, Thursday October 21, Saturday October 23 and Sunday October 24 offering Pfizer and AZ walk-ins (no individual choice of vaccine, will be administered according to JCVI guidance and vaccine availability), first and second doses, 8.30m-7pm seven days a week (NB AZ appointments and walk-ins will only be available on Tuesdays at PRSA).
Lincolnshire Showground MVC – will be open Tuesday October 19, Thursday October 21, Saturday October 23 and Sunday October 24 offering Pfizer and AZ walk-ins (no individual choice of vaccine, will be administered according to JCVI guidance and vaccine availability), first and second doses, 8.30am-7pm seven days a week (NB AZ appointments and walk-ins will only be available on Wednesdays at the Showground).
The Table Tennis Club, Meres Leisure Centre, Grantham – offering Pfizer and AZ walk-ins, first and second doses (no individual choice of vaccine, will be administered according to JCVI guidance and vaccine availability), Sunday – Friday.