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A respiratory expert and former government advisor is urging people to get vaccinated against both Covid and flu, warning that a combination of both could be dangerous.
University professor and doctor Calum Semple said that catching both “greatly increases” the risk for severe illness.
Speaking to ITV News on September 29, Mr Semple also cautioned that people who suffer from both are at greater risk of being hospitalised.
He said: “It’s terribly important [to get vaccinated] because we will likely see the usual seasonal flu epidemic and flu plus Covid is really very very bad for people.
“It greatly increases the risk of severe disease and going to intensive care.
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“So you really don’t want to catch flu and Covid at the same time.
“So it is very important to get the vaccination for both particularly if you’re in a high risk group, over the age of 65 or a younger person in a high risk group.”
His comments come as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued an appeal for all eligible people to get their jabs this autumn.
In a winter briefing issued yesterday (October 2), deputy chief medical officer at the UKHSA – Doctor Thomas Waite, said: “Flu and COVID-19 circulated last winter, causing significant peaks and resulting in thousands of hospitalisations and deaths.
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“It is important that we are protected against both.
“Vaccination is our strongest form of defence so if you are eligible, please come forward and get your jabs as soon as possible.”
Mr Semple voiced concerns that some people might not realise the seriousness of both illnesses.
“A lot of people are thinking that Covid is really nothing to worry about now,” he said.
“And to be fair for the vast majority of us that is the case, but if you’re over 65 and you’re in a high risk group, you really do need to pay attention, come in, get the vaccine.
“Getting the vaccine is going to be safer than getting the disease.”
He urged people to give others “due respect” if they wear masks in public places.
Mr Semple added: “They might have underlying health conditions or concerns so give them the space and give them the respect that’s due to them.
“For the rest of us, we do have to get on with life. Be sensible. If you’re feeling sick stay at home.
“But the reality is, Covid is becoming a part of the seasonal life for us all, we have to get back to normal, we have to get back to work.
“So, so take the vaccine if you want, if you’re in the high risk group, get vaccinated, but otherwise, we do have to get on with life.”
You are eligible for another Covid booster if you are:
- Aged 65 years old or over (you need to be 65 years old by 31 March 2024)
- Aged six months to 64 years old and are at increased risk
- Living in a care home for older adults
- A frontline health or social care worker
- Aged 16 to 64 years old and are a carer
- Aged 12 to 64 years old and live with someone with a weakened immune system.
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