Vaccine warning as Covid and flu cases set to surge in winter ‘twindemic’

MILLIONS of Brits are warned to get Covid and flu vaccines before a winter “twindemic” virus surge.

The UK Health Security Agency said more than 30million people are eligible for one or both jabs.

Health chiefs fear this winter could be the first time Covid and flu surge together

Health chiefs fear this winter could be the first time Covid and flu surge togetherCredit: Alamy

Health chiefs are worried both bugs will bounce back with a vengeance as the weather turns colder.

A source said: “It will be three years since the majority of people have had flu and we know Covid immunity wanes, too.

“It’s the first winter with Covid but with no restrictions.”

A sharp flu outbreak in Australia, whose winter happens during our summer, has raised fears the same will happen in the UK.

An average winter flu round causes 11,000 deaths and tens of thousands of hospital admissions.

And figures show Covid cases are rising again for the first time in months, with 930,000 infections last week.

If both bugs reach even average winter levels together it could pile huge pressure on the NHS.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UKHSA, said: “This combination poses a serious risk to our health, particularly those in high-risk groups.

“We are extremely fortunate to have vaccines against these two diseases. 

“If you are offered a jab, please come forward to protect yourself and help reduce the burden on our health services.”

Both Omicron Covid boosters and flu vaccines are on offer for all over-50s, clinically vulnerable people, health and care workers and pregnant women.

All pre-school and primary children, and some secondary kids, can get a nasal spray flu vaccine.

Health bosses particularly want to boost uptake in children and mums-to-be, who are at risk but have low immunity rates.

NHS vaccines director Steve Russell said: “This winter could be the first time we see the effects of the so-called ‘twindemic’ with both Covid and flu in full circulation.

“It is vital that those most susceptible to serious illness from these viruses come forward for vaccines in order to protect themselves and those around them.”

NHS clinics are rolling out new Omicron boosters with the original Covid vaccines, including a new one made by Novavax.

Flu jabs are tailor-made each year based on the variant that is likely to be dominant.

People can sign up for vaccines through the NHS website or their local GP surgery or pharmacy. Children get flu jabs at school.