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Flu deaths could hit 60,000 in worst winter for 50 years, say experts

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Flu deaths could be the worst for 50 years because of lockdowns and social distancing, health chiefs have warned, as the NHS launches the biggest ever flu vaccination drive.

More than 35 million people will be offered flu jabs this winter, amid concern that prolonged restrictions on social contact have left Britain with little immunity.

Officials fear that this winter could see up to 60,000 flu deaths – the worst figure in Britain since the 1968 Hong Kong Flu pandemic – without strong uptake of vaccines.

There is also concern about the effectiveness of this year’s jabs, because the lack of flu last year made it harder for scientists to sample the virus and predict the dominant strains.

Health chiefs said the measures introduced over the past 18 months to protect the country against coronavirus would now put the public at greater risk of flu.

The NHS has already begun the rollout of flu jabs and COVID-19 boosters. Health chiefs will urge everyone eligible to take up their chance, with the launch of a major campaign today to drive take-up.

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Source: The Telegraph, 8 October 2021

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