Eligible people urged to get flu vaccine as virus may be more deadly than Covid10/03/2023
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The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is urging vulnerable groups to get vaccinated ahead of this winter.
Professor Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser at UKHSA, said: “Last year, the flu virus was estimated to be responsible for over 14,000 excess deaths, and tens of thousands of hospitalisations, including over 10,000 in children.
“Last winter the vaccine prevented an estimated 25,000 hospitalisations, but this could be even greater if all those eligible for the flu vaccine came forward this year.”
Dr Hopkins added: “Pregnant women, young children and those with chronic health conditions are particularly vulnerable, and we have good evidence to suggest this year’s vaccine will offer good protection.”
The latest data from Australia’s winter suggests that this year’s flu vaccine is well-matched to circulating strains, such as the H1N1 subtype.
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Dr Hopkins said: “Taking up both the flu and Covid vaccines ahead of winter provides the best level of protection against severe illness and will help ease the pressure on the NHS this winter.”
Vaccines Minister Maria Caulfield highlighted how flu placed a greater burden on hospitals than Covid last year.
“It’s essential that we all take part in reducing pressure on the health system by booking our Covid and flu jabs as soon as possible,” said Caulfield.
“Please do come forward and get your jabs to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
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Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Thomas Waite agreed: “Vaccination is our strongest form of defence.
“So if you are eligible, please come forward and get your jabs as soon as possible.”
All eligible adults can book their flu and Covid vaccines online via the NHS website, the NHS app, or calling 119 for free.
Chief Delivery Officer and National Director for Vaccinations and Screening for NHS England, Steve Russell commented on the current status of the vaccination programme.
Russell said: “The NHS is off to a flying start with its covid and flu vaccination programme.”
Millions of people who are at most risk of the viruses have been vaccinated, but more people need to come forward.
Russell said: “NHS staff are once again pulling out all the stops to deliver lifesaving vaccinations, with more vaccine sites than ever before.
“Not only will these vaccines protect you and your loved ones from getting sick this winter, but they will also help ease pressure on the NHS by reducing hospitalisations.”
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