Wednesday 28 September 2022 12:08 AM Prepare for the twindemic! Health chiefs warn Covid will strike at same time as ... trends now

Wednesday 28 September 2022 12:08 AM Prepare for the twindemic! Health chiefs warn Covid will strike at same time as ... trends now
Wednesday 28 September 2022 12:08 AM Prepare for the twindemic! Health chiefs warn Covid will strike at same time as ... trends now

Wednesday 28 September 2022 12:08 AM Prepare for the twindemic! Health chiefs warn Covid will strike at same time as ... trends now

Tens of millions of Britons are being urged to rush forward for their Covid and flu jabs amid warnings of a 'twindemic' ahead.

Covid cases and hospitalisations are already on the rise in England, in what health chiefs fear is the start of a winter wave.

Meanwhile, flu is expected to take off earlier than usual and infect thousands more people  after being suppressed by pandemic curbs over the last two winters.

Officials today warned that the double-whammy of viruses poses 'a serious risk to our health' and urged people not to be 'complacent'. 

Around 20,000 people died from Covid last winter, while flu claimed up to 20,000 lives every year before the pandemic.

Jabs are both proven to protect against the viruses.

Covid's autumn booster campaign opened to 26million over-50s, at-risk groups and health and care staff earlier this month, with 3million jabbed so far.

Meanwhile, a similar-sized group — plus millions of healthy children — are set to be offered a seasonal flu jab. 

Government statisticians tasked with tracking the outbreak estimate 766,500 people were infected on any day last week ¿ up 8.6 per cent on the previous weekly toll. It marks the first rise in infections since mid-July, when the summer wave peaked and ministers faced calls to bring back pandemic-era restrictions

Government statisticians tasked with tracking the outbreak estimate 766,500 people were infected on any day last week — up 8.6 per cent on the previous weekly toll. It marks the first rise in infections since mid-July, when the summer wave peaked and ministers faced calls to bring back pandemic-era restrictions

Groups set to be offered an autumn Covid booster

Groups set to be offered a flu jab this autumn

In final guidance published today, the JCVI set out that the over-50s, residents and staff at care homes for older adults and frontline health and social care workers would be offered a Covid autumn booster. On top of these groups, five to 49-year-olds who are a clinical risk group, live with an immunosuppressed person or are carers will also be eligible

Parents are urged to book MMR jabs for children after uptake slumped during Covid pandemic 

Doctors fear 740,000 children are at risk of deadly measles after vaccinations plunged during the pandemic.

Uptake of the two measles, mumps and rubella jabs was the lowest in a decade during Covid and is yet to catch up.

Measles can cause pneumonia and brain inflammation. Health chiefs fear cases could soar, with one in ten children starting school unprotected. They are contacting parents of children between one and six who have not yet had both doses, urging them to visit their GP.

The NHS’s Steve Russell said the jab ‘is safe for your child, and will protect them, their friends and the wider community’.

Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious illnesses that can easily spread between unvaccinated people. Complications from these diseases can be potentially life changing. 

Children need two doses of the safe and effective MMR vaccine, with the first dose given around the child’s first birthday, and the second dose given at around three years and four months old. Both doses are needed to ensure full and lasting protection against measles, mumps and rubella.

The NHS has also sent out over 1.5 million invitations to parents of two to three years olds to get their flu vaccination ahead of winter. Where possible, children can receive their MMR catch up vaccine at the same time as their flu vaccine. 

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Warnings of a double-whammy of Covid and flu have been rife over the past few years.

Both are seasonal viruses, which pick up pace as people spend more time socialising indoors, where it is easier for viruses to spread.

But fears of a so-called twindemic have so far been overblown.

Covid cases, hospital admissions and deaths all fell well below pessimistic estimates provided to the Government last winter. 

And flu infections were just fraction of usual levels.

One expert today, however, admitted that they were more concerned about flu this winter than they had been for several years. 

Covid rates are already on the rise, in what senior UK Health Security Agency advisers said were a 'threat to people's health'. 

Surveillance data shows infections in England jumped nine per cent in the week to September 14 — the first rise in two months. However, just one in 70 are thought to be carrying the virus.

Daily virus hospitalisations are starting to climb in the country, jumping 50 per cent in the week to September 19. And rates are expected to keep on increasing.

Sky-high immunity rates have changed the course of the pandemic, with just a fraction of hospital patients actually ill with the virus. 

But health chiefs are also concerned Omicron's many sub-variants may continue to mutate in ways that help them evade the immune response triggered by vaccines and previous infections.

Meanwhile, surveillance shows H3N2 — which is known to cause more severe illness than other versions of the flu — is the prevailing strain worldwide.

It circulated in the UK last winter. But Covid restrictions, such as WFH guidance and reduced social mixing, stopped it from taking off.

This has left Britons more vulnerable this winter because tens of thousands people fewer than expected have caught the virus in recent years, triggering a drop in immunity.

The variant,

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