UK hospital flu admissions finally overtake COVID-19 admissions

Flu Vaccination - Credit Magnifier /

Hospital flu admissions have overtaken COVID-19 admissions in the UK for the first time since the pandemic began back in early 2020.

Figures released by the UK Health Security Agency on Friday, December 16 show that the rate of flu admissions had risen to 6.8 per 100,000 (6.6 per 100,000 for COVID-19) for the week to December 11.

Perhaps of most concern is that the rate of flu admissions has surpassed the number of any week over the last four years, with Dr Conall Watson, UKHSA Consultant Epidemiologist, saying: “Flu is now circulating widely and we have seen a sharp rise in the rate of hospitalisations for flu this week, particularly among the under-fives and over-85s.

“Admissions are now at the highest point since the 2017/18 season and we are expecting case numbers to continue increasing as we move further into winter.

“The flu vaccine offers the best protection against severe illness and it’s not too late for everyone eligible to get it.

“Uptake is particularly low in those aged two and three, so if your child is eligible please take up the offer.”

According to the figures, both rates are rising but flu admissions are rising at a much faster rate, with those over the age of 85 most susceptible (23.1 per 100,000). Worryingly there is a rise in the rate of children aged four and under rising from 8.4 to 20.7 admissions per 100,000 toddlers.

Although children aged two and three are eligible for the flu nasal spray vaccine, less than 40 per cent have taken up the offer. Over ’50s are also entitled to receive a free flu jab as are primary school-going children.

Vulnerable people. Pregnant mothers and frontline care and health workers are also entitled to a free jab.

With UK hospital flu admissions overtaking COVID-19 admissions, health officials are once again calling on those most susceptible to take up the offer and get vaccinated as soon as possible. This is considered to be even more important at the moment with healthcare stretched as nurses get set to “down tools” for the first time in their history.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]