Covid: A ‘challenging winter’ ahead as modelling shows spike in deaths – doctor’s advice

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

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Modelling demonstrates that this winer influenza and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) hospital admissions and deaths “could be two times that of a ‘normal’ year” – alongside an increase in Covid infections and the associated long-term consequences. Deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam highlighted that “there isn’t as much natural immunity in our communities as usual”. The winter lockdown that stretched from last year until April of this year shielded against coronavirus and flu.

Now, though, there are no restrictions in place preventing people from mixing indoors.

“For the first time, we will have Covid and flu co-circulating,” he said.

In an average year, the flu causes almost 11,000 deaths in England – a figure that is expected to rise this year.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Friday, October 8, Dr Amir Khan concurred that people are more at risk this year of falling severely ill.

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“It’s going to be a real worry this coming season,” he said. “We had low levels of flu last year because of the coronavirus restrictions and social distancing.

“Meaning people were not exposed to the virus as much and there is lower immunity in the population.”

This is why Dr Amir advises people to come forward for their flu vaccine.

In the biggest flu vaccination campaign ever done in Britain, all two and three-year-olds will now be offered the free jab at their doctor’s clinic.

Dr Amir explains it will be a “quick, painless nasal spray” that will also be offered in schools for all years, from reception to year 11.

For those eligible for a flu vaccine, Dr Amir did admit his practice had a “delay” in their delivery of flu vaccines “by about three weeks”.

This was said to “put us back quite significantly”, so some people might have to wait longer than they would have done.

“But we will get to them, and it’s really important that they come forward for the flu vaccine.”

People over the age of 50, and those most vulnerable, are now being offered a Covid booster vaccine to top up their immunity to the virus.

“You are most likely to get your vaccines in separate appointments,” said Dr Amir.

“But if you are offered them at the same time, that’s fine too. Remember, flu and Covid booster vaccines are your best protection from these viruses.”

While the modelling predictions suggest that hospital admissions and deaths are going to be twice more deadly than a “normal” year, what is the current standing?

The Government has detailed very positive news, with the number of people testing positive, patients admitted to hospital, and hospital deaths all declining from the week prior.

More than 45 million people have had their second Covid vaccine, which can be attributed to such success.

Now people are urged to get a flu jab in the widest eligibility criteria seen in the UK.

Furthermore, even if you are not eligible for a free flu jab, you can still purchase the vaccine for £14.50 at a local pharmacy.

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