Covid warning for co-infection with flu – ‘More risk of death’ says expert

Dr Amir Khan says flu is ‘going to be a real worry’ this winter

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Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, was speaking on the Andrew Marr show, and said one of the biggest threats this winter is flu, noting that there could be between 11,000 to 60,000 deaths.

She said: “We have not had the flu exposure we have had previously, people are more susceptible.”

Harries continued: “People are at more significant risk of death and of serious illness if they are co-infected with flu and with Covid, and that does not seem to be, from our studies, a fact which many of the public understand.”

Nonetheless, she said there had been “extremely good vaccine uptake” which is now preventing significant amounts of hospitalisations and deaths.

Marr asked whether because there has not been as much flu circulating, as a result of mask wearing and staying inside, she was concerned about the vaccine and this particular strain of flu.

Harries answered: “It is a more uncertain year, but I certainly would be encouraging everybody to go and get their vaccine.

“As usual, we work with WHO and we look at what has happened on the other side of the world, because obviously their winter season comes first, and we have a multi-strain vaccine.”

Nonetheless, she said there was a degree of uncertainty, partially because of there being fewer cases, but also because people will not have come to be tested so much, so there are fewer samples.

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