Felix Dima, 13, from Newcastle receives his flu inoculation ahead of receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Excelsior Academy on September 22, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
A new video campaign was launched on Friday (8) to encourage those eligible to get a free flu vaccine and Covid-19 booster jab ahead of winter.
The new film sees media medics Dr Amir Khan, Dr Dawn Harper and Dr Karan Ranj explain why it is more important than ever for people to get their winter vaccines as soon as possible this autumn, as both viruses have the potential to cause serious illness and hospitalisation.
New research suggests that adults in England are severely underestimating the combined threat of Covid-19 and flu this winter, an official statement said.
A recent survey of 3,000 participants found that nearly one third (32 per cent) were unaware that flu and Covid-19 can circulate at the same time. And over a quarter (26 per cent) did not know that flu can be fatal and over half (55 per cent) underestimated the number of people who die from flu in an average year in England (which is approximately 11,000).
Besides, nearly a quarter of those over 50 (24 per cent) and 29 per cent of those with long term health conditions were unaware that flu and Covid-19 could circulate at the same time.
The study also revealed that over a third (37 per cent) of pregnant women were also unaware that they can still catch flu if they’ve had the Covid-19 vaccine.
“This year we are rolling out the largest flu vaccine programme in our history, alongside the new Covid-19 booster vaccine rollout; both are important to provide vital protection not only to yourself but also your loved ones while also helping to ease pressure on the NHS,” said health secretary Sajid Javid.
According to the research, around one in ten (9 per cent) saying they thought the Covid-19 vaccination would protect them against flu.
Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS deputy vaccination programme lead, said: “Flu and Covid-19 both cost lives and the increased threat from the two deadly viruses this winter makes it even more important for people to continue sticking to good habits like washing their hands regularly.
“It’s important anyone eligible comes forward for a flu vaccine as soon as possible and books in their booster when they are invited – the vaccines are safe, effective and the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones this winter.”
Dr Amir Khan, NHS doctor and regular on ITV’s This Morning, said: “We are well aware of the threat posed by Covid-19 by now, but we can’t forget about flu which can also be deadly. Both viruses have the potential to cause serious illness and hospitalisation this winter.”