Ministers have been urged to check vaccinations of all age groups for flu to avoid double deadlock in winter if a second corona virus wave hit.
The recommendation was made by advisers after the SAGE meeting in April, with UK Public Health estimating that on average in the last five years 17,000 people have died each year in the UK due to the flu, according to Sun.
However, annual mortality varies greatly from highs of 28,330 in 2014/15 to a low of 1,692 in 2018/19.
Winter flu also puts a big strain on the availability of NHS hospital beds, taking around 50,000.
As it seems, less than half of the UK is eligible to do a free jab, with chief medical advisor Professor Chris Whitty acknowledging the similarities in symptoms will make things very difficult.
“At this point in the year if someone gets something that looks like Covid, there’s a high chance that Covid will be in the winter, that’s not quite right,” he said.
And while the flu disappeared in Europe last month when coronavirus locking slowed transmission, according to EU data and scientists – but fewer flu samples are available for vaccines ready next year.
Winter flu outbreaks in the northern hemisphere usually take place from October to mid-May and in some seasons have claimed the lives of the COVID-19 scale, despite vaccines.
Influenza kills 152,000 people in Europe in the winter of 2017-18.
“The flu season ends earlier than usual this year and this may be caused by actions taken regarding SARS-CoV-2, such as social distance and wearing masks,” Holger Rabenau, a virus expert at Frankfurt University Hospital, told Reuters, using the name science of new coronavirus.
But laboratories have been so overwhelmed with COVID-19 and have fewer flu samples available, which means they “may not have a complete picture of the viruses circulating in the latter part of the season,” said Pasi Penttinen, a senior flu expert. at the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Fewer data and delays in processing information can affect vaccine quality for winter 2021 in the southern hemisphere, whose composition is usually decided in September based on samples collected at the beginning of the year.
“This may be a problem,” Penttinen said, because lacking information about the possibility of a virus mutation this year lowers the likelihood of assembling the most effective jab against strains that are expected to be prevalent the following year.
The problem will not affect next winter’s vaccine for the northern hemisphere because its composition was approved in February, Penttinen said.
Decisions about the composition of vaccines are taken early because it takes several months to produce millions of flu shots needed every year.
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