“Get your Covid booster and flu vaccine” – That’s the message from public health experts who are warning of a double threat from the two viruses this winter.
It comes as the number of people in hospital with coronavirus increased by 12% last week, according to the latest figures.
Scotland is facing it’s fourth wave of 2022 as Covid-19 numbers begin to creep up after a drop during the late summer months.
“I’m worried about two things,” Professor Linda Bauld told STV News.
“I’m worried about COVID, and I’m also worried about flu. I think we’re going to have a big impact of flu this winter.”
Professor Bauld’s concern comes after Australia’s flu cases more than doubled the previous record during the southern hemisphere’s influenza season.
It became one of the first countries to experience a simultaneous Covid and flu spike putting pressure on hospitals.
Professor Bauld said she expects case numbers to rise to form a fourth wave of coronavirus this winter as “the weather gets colder and as people’s immunity wanes”.
In the week ending October 2 there were on average 744 patients in hospital with coronavirus, up from 664 the previous week, Public Health Scotland (PHS) data shows.
There was also a rise in admissions to intensive care units with a laboratory confirmed test of Covid-19, with 19 in the week to Sunday – up eight on the week before.
The PHS report states that “following a fall in cases since mid-July, the average number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 has been increasing slightly in recent weeks”.
In the week to Sunday there were 206 new Covid-19 admissions to hospital, according to provisional figures, with no data available for three NHS boards.
Of the 491,342 people vaccinated for Covid-19 as part of the winter 2022 vaccination programme by the week ending October 2, PHS data shows 93.9% were vaccinated for flu at the same appointment.
“The main message from me and from anybody working in public health would be to come forward to get your booster vaccine, which many people are eligible for,” said Professor Bauld.
“As close as possible, please take the flu vaccine and that includes younger children as well, who we really want to be protected against the flu this winter.”