People infected with both flu and Covid-19 have serious and increased risk of death, experts warn

  • london
  • September 21, 2020
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Those infected with both flu and Covid-19 have a serious increased risk of death, new research has found.

Public Health England (PHE) warned that both illnesses could be circulating at the same time as they urged people who are eligible to get vaccinated.

The flu vaccination programme has been expanded this year so more people than ever will be eligible for a vaccine – up to 30 million people in England.

It is hoped that a new campaign will encourage those who are eligible to accept their invitation when it is sent out.

The campaign has been launched as a new study showed that during the first peak of the pandemic, people who were infected with both the new coronavirus and flu had a significantly higher risk of death.

While the numbers were small, the risk of death was nearly six times greater among those co-infected compared to the general population.

The risk of death was also higher compared to being infected with Covid-19 alone.

PHE researchers analysed data in almost 20,000 people who were tested for both Covid-19 and flu between January 20 and April 25.

Fifty eight were identified as having ‘co-infection’ of the two viruses.

Overall 43 per cent of people with co-infection died compared to 27 per cent of those who tested positive for Covid-19 alone.

Those who died “tended” to be older, PHE said.

Flu usually kills around 11,000 people each year in England and many more are hospitalised.

People more susceptible to the effects of flu are also more at risk from Covid-19, officials said.

Three of England’s most senior health officials have implored eligible people to get vaccinated when they get their invitation.

In previous years, the rates of people getting their flu jab have been low among some groups.

This year people eligible for the flu vaccine include:

– Primary school children and Year 7 pupils, who will be offered the flu nasal spray in schools and two and three-year-olds will be offered the vaccine through their GP.

– Those age 65 and over, people with long-term health conditions and pregnant women will be offered the vaccine through their GP or pharmacy.

– Household contacts of people who were instructed to ‘shield’ during the first wave of the pandemic.

– Health and social care workers who have direct contact with the people they care for.

– Once the first at risk groups have been contacted, the vaccine programme will also be rolled out to include people over the age of 50.