Flu cases in the UK have increased earlier this winter than usual, perhaps by over a month.
Other unpleasant respiratory infections such as RSV are also on the rise.
Information from around the world can help us predict what might type of flu season might be heading our way.
- Australia has just come to the end of a bad flu season, with a dramatic increase in flu cases and hospitalisations relative to the mild season it experienced last year, in a pattern likely to be replicated in the UK.
- In the USA, by the end of November 2022 there had already been more than 6.2 million flu cases, with 53,000 hospitalisations, and 2,900 deaths from flu.
- Across Europe as a whole, the flu season has commenced earlier than in the 4 previous seasons, and the proportion of positive tests from sentinel locations has exceeded the technical threshold for consideration as an epidemic.
Meanwhile, UK vaccination rates have so far been low: by the end of November, when the flu vaccination campaign should be largely complete, fewer than 40% of “at risk” adults under 65 had been vaccinated, fewer than 25% of healthy adults aged 50 to 64, and fewer than 30% of pregnant women.
So this winter’s flu season is likely to be more severe, and not enough people will be protected.
What can you do to keep well this winter?
Get Vaccinated . Get Tested . Get Treatment
The good news is that circulating flu strains have so far been a good match with this year’s flu vaccines. It is not too late to be vaccinated. Vaccines are still available. At this point in the season, our preferred vaccine for adults is our premium recombinant vaccine, Supemtek, which is known to be highly immunogenic.
Flu cases in children are rising but the nasal spray vaccine has so far been in restricted supply. If your child has not yet been able to obtain the flu spray, injected flu vaccines are at least as effective and should be given without further delay.
You can easily book your flu jabs online.
For family or groups bookings, it may be more convenient for you to book by phone or email.
At the Fleet Street Clinic, we can test quickly and accurately for a full panel of respiratory viruses in our own laboratory. It is helpful to know whether you are suffering from flu, covid, or another circulating virus such as RSV or metapneumovirus. We can tailor treatment to the result, help you know how long symptoms will last, and can help you prevent spreading it to others – especially important over the Christmas period when socialising in high at work and amongst family and friends.
Flu is treatable with anti-viral drugs, which reduce symptoms and speed recovery. Preventive treatment for close contacts and other members of your family is also something we can help with, available from our GPs. Knowing for certain that you have a viral infection can also help avoid unnecessary antibiotic treatment.
For more information on Flu Jabs available at Fleet Street Clinic.
Other recommended winter vaccinations are the shingles vaccine & the pneumonia vaccine.
We can also provide onsite Workplace Flu Vaccinations for companies in the UK – for more information.
Some infections can harm your baby if you catch them during pregnancy. Research suggests that the flu, in particular strains such as H1N1 (swine flu), can significantly increase the risk of complications to expecting mothers and their unborn babies.
Vaccinating expecting mothers against flu or before pregnancy can provide the newborn baby with significant ‘passive’ protection – which can last several weeks after birth. This is important because babies cannot be vaccinated themselves until they are 6 months old. So, a mother’s vaccination is strongly advised.
Fleet Street Clinic are urging all the mums-to-be to have the vaccine. The Quadrivalent Flu Jab can be safely given at any point during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they contract the flu virus. Pregnant women are at risk of complications from the flu at any stage of pregnancy. So therefore, it is important for those expecting to get their flu jab as early as possible.
If you are currently planning your pregnancy, it would be sensible to consider getting your flu jab prior to becoming pregnant.
The flu vaccine can safely be given to pregnant women at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine. You can have the whooping cough vaccine from 16 weeks onwards.
The vaccine is inactivated, and cannot cause flu itself.
Having the flu vaccine is the best protection.
If you are interested in booking flu vaccinations for your staff, visit flujabs.org for more information and to get a quote.
Flu jabs are a necessary part of Flu prevention… even after Covid-19
Flu vaccinations become available mid-September each year. They offer the best protection against the flu and are designed to be had prior to exposure to the flu virus. Like all vaccinations, immunity can take up to 2-weeks following vaccination to become effective so the earlier you get vaccinated the better.
Flu is still something we should be vaccinated again as it can be serious and lead to complications that can prove fatal. Vaccination offer protect for you, your family, your work colleagues and also those most vulnerable in your community.
The successful Covid-19 vaccination campaign has clearly demonstrated how vaccinations can protect the vulnerable and limit outbreaks. I hope everyone will learn from this and take full advantage of flu vaccination next time it is offered.
What is the next flu season expected to be like?
We don’t really know what to expect. There was very little circulating flu virus during the 2020/21 season, which means that there will be less immunity within the general population and more people will be susceptible. To make things worse, if there has been less flu around – globally – it becomes harder to predict exactly which flu strains will be coming our way, and so more difficult to pick the best strains to include in next winter’s vaccines. It is dangerous to assume flu has disappeared due to the pandemic and Covid restrictions that are currently in place.
Booking your flu jab:
Private vaccination is available from September until February the following year. Due to coronavirus, we operate a booking system so we can manage the flow of patients being vaccinated in a safe way.
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 9am-5pm
Address: Fleet Street Clinic, 29 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1AA
Corporate Flu Vaccination Programmes
Flujabs.org is the flu vaccination service of Fleet Street Clinic, providing vaccinations to the UK and worldwide for over 20 years.
Make sure to protect your workforce this winter by offering flu vaccines to your employees.
If you have any queries, please get in touch with our Flu Jabs team at Fleet Street Clinic, who will be happy to answer any questions. Or you can visit our Flu Jabs page for more information.
FLU SEASON 2017
Following particularly bad flu seasons in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia, the NHS has been told to prepare for a severe winter flu epidemic, the BBC reported today.
The Chief Executive of the NHS Simon Stevens said,
“The signs from Australia and New Zealand, who are just coming out of their winter, are that it has been a heavy flu season and many of the hospitals down there have struggled to cope.”
Research indicates that health services in Australia and New Zealand are recording double the amount of cases of flu this winter, compared to the average of the previous 5 years.
Every year, a few different strains of flu circulate and one normally becomes dominant. In Australia and New Zealand, the H3N2 strain has been the main problem. The good news is, that if the UK flu season follows the same pattern, the vaccine produced for Winter Flu 2017/ 18 is effective against this strain.
Source: The BBC
Flu Vaccinations at FluJabs.Org – the flu vaccination programme from Fleet Street Clinic
Fleet Street Clinic offers a flu vaccination service for businesses and individuals between September 2017 and February 2018. Adults and children are welcome at our Fleet Street Flu Jabs drop-clinic. Flu Jabs are offered on a walk-in basis (to attend at a specific time, please book an appointment with a doctor or nurse, a separate appointment fee applies).
WHEN IS THE DROP-IN FLU CLINIC OPEN?
Our service runs Monday through Friday 9am – 5pm. (PLEASE NOTE: these hours are shorter than those offered for other services at Fleet Street Clinic). Book your appointment today.
If you have any further questions about the flu jab or other travel vaccinations, our experienced team of nurses can help.