People who get the winter flu jab are firmly advised to shield themselves from the coronavirus by isolating for 12 weeks, the deputy chief medical officer for England warns
Britons who get the annual winter flu jab fall into the government’s “high risk” category and should self-isolate, a top medic warns.
The news comes as the public demand more clarity from the government over who falls into that category, given common underlying health problems.
Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, told BBC Breakfast this morning: “I don’t want to go into enormous detail into every single risk group but we are saying it is the people who are offered flu vaccines, other than children, who fit into that risk category, people for whom the advice is very strong about social distancing.”
The flu vaccine is available on the NHS every winter and is routinely given to adults over 65, people with medical conditions and pregnant women, to prevent serious complications from flu like pneumonia.
Patients most at risk include people with asthma, cancer or those have had an organ transplant.
When should you call NHS 111?
Those experiencing coronavirus symptoms, such as a cough or fever, should self-isolate for seven days.
You should stay at home if you or or anyone in your household has a high temperature or a new and continuous cough – even if it’s mild.
- Everyone in your household must stay at home for 14 days and keep away from others as it can take 14 days for them to appear.
- DO NOT go to your GP or hospital.
- Go to NHS.UK to check your symptoms and follow the specialist medical advice.
- Only call 111 if you can’t get online, you feel like you can’t cope at home, or your symptoms do not get better after the seven days.
- If you are pregnant you should call 111 if you have any concerns about yourself or unborn baby during self-isolation.
- Pregnant women are advised to contact their midwife, out-of-hours helplines or a maternity team who will provide information on whether you need to go to hospital.
Meanwhile, scientists are calling for governments to reduce the strain on intensive care units by introducing tougher social measures.
This includes building awareness of the risk posed to young people.
In an open letter, produced by the International Association of Italian Researchers, and signed by hundreds of scientists globally, the group warned that young people are also at risk of developing a severe ailment.
Coronavirus is “able to cause severe respiratory ailments even in young subjects (contrary to the popular belief that initially downplayed the risks associated to the virus”.
The group also criticised governments for the lack of countermeasures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, demanding clearer actions for citizens.
The group wrote: “The greatest priority must be the preservation of public health. Clearer actions must follow urgently.
“We believe that the authorities overseeing healthcare systems should focus on communicating and enforcing rigorous rules and norms to be followed to prevent and limit the spread and diffusion of the virus, in order to ensure effective responses by hospitals, clinics and primary doctors as well.”