COVID-19 is causing lower flu vaccination rates in the UK, says GlobalData

The UK has one of the highest flu vaccination rates in the world. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing appointment times due to extra precautions needing to be taken to avoid COVID-19 contamination and reducing patients’ access to healthcare over fear of catching the disease. Therefore, despite the importance of vaccination during the pandemic, GlobalData epidemiologists predict a lower flu vaccination rate in the UK in 2020–2021.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist, at GlobalData, comments: “Both flu and COVID-19 affect the elderly more than any other age group. According to GlobalData’s 2019 report, Seasonal Influenza: Epidemiology Forecast to 2028, around 72% of people over 65 years old received the flu jab in 2019 in the UK. This averted about 10% of flu-related hospitalizations.”

Flu vaccination is crucial during the COVID-19 outbreak as it prevents possible co-infection, which increases hospital bed availability and primary care access. The flu vaccination also helps to lower flu cases in the population, making any emerging flu outbreaks easier to detect.

Hassanpourfard concludes: “Recent findings show that co-infection of COVID-19 and flu is possible. However, more research is needed to determine the prevalence of such co-infection.”

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