Community Health Champions | Tel: 01782 683030 | [email protected]

Warnings of lower levels of natural immunity to flu this year

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have warned of lower levels of natural immunity to flu this year as well as increased coronavirus (COVID-19) circulation.

For this reason, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s also really important to take up the offer of a free flu vaccine if you are eligible. The spread of flu was reduced last winter by COVID-19 restrictions and people mixing much less than usual. This helped to protect people from catching flu but has also led to lower levels of natural immunity to the current flu strain building up within the population.

There was record uptake of the flu jab in people aged 65 and over in 2021 and 2022 (82%), though there was lower uptake among people in clinical risk groups and pregnant women and these groups are particularly encouraged to come forward this year.

If you’ve had COVID-19, it’s safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu. You can also have your flu vaccine at the same time as your COVID-19 booster, if eligible.

Study results from early in the pandemic show individuals who catch both flu and COVID-19 at the same time, known as co-infection, are around twice as likely to suffer death compared to those who only have COVID-19.

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:

  • are 50 and over (including those who’ll be 50 by 31 March 2022)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • frontline health or social care workers

You can find more information about the flu jab on the NHS website here.