Wife is the best friend of Swine Flu swine

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption To protect against swine flu, which can be deadly for babies and children, the jab will also be offered to all other adults

The most senior MP in the UK will be offered the swine flu booster jab as the government moves to protect “all adults” from the virus.

A health warning has been issued for those over 65, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses.

On Thursday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson confirmed he would get the shot too.

Public Health England will offer the jab to adults for the first time on 15 January.

On Friday, Mr Johnson said: “Getting vaccinated against the flu virus is important to protect yourself and your family.

“Those who have not already done so are advised to get vaccinated as soon as possible, so that they and those they care for, are protected against the flu.”

Where do the swine flu jab and the anti-viral drug Tamiflu work?

The UK vaccination programme was based on the evidence that the swine flu vaccine works better for those who are more at risk – such as young children, pregnant women and the elderly.

The vaccination of pregnant women was planned for the first time this year.

The vaccine is also prepared for in line with the latest scientific advice. The latest WHO recommendations are released only once a year.

What sort of flu has been circulating in the UK so far?

The swine flu vaccine won’t work against other strains of the virus that circulate each year, such as H1N1 and H3N2. The more severe swine flu generally affects younger people, particularly children, elderly people and people with chronic health conditions.

So far, since December 2017, 74 people in England have been admitted to hospital with swine flu – 42 of them since the middle of December.

How many people have been killed by it?

Swine flu caused 285 deaths in the UK in 2017, but WHO’s Health Emergencies Committee said this showed the virus could still kill. The report said the vaccines used to treat the virus had prevented more than 90% of those deaths.

WHO’s World Health Alert System records all deaths recorded in different countries. It is viewed as a leading indicator of diseases taking hold, even though some, like the flu virus, are not a cause of death.

The mortality figure in 2017 was down from almost 500 deaths in 2016 – making it the second worst-ever flu season, according to the WHO.

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