The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) issued a nationwide influenza warning on Friday. Generally, the seasonal flu hits the nation in winter between November and January the following year, but in 2022, the population faces an unusual "flu epidemic in autumn."
According to the agency, the influenza has hit the nation in the autumn for the first time in 12 years since 2010. On top of that, there had not been any flu warning issued for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which initiated social distancing and led to fewer flu infection cases.
Health experts worry that there may be more flu cases this year as there is less natural immunity against influenza with fewer people having been infected during the past two years. Worse still, there may be cases of getting infected with both the flu and COVID-19. Medical professionals, including researchers at the University of Edinburgh, analyzed 227 patients who got infected simultaneously with both the flu and COVID-19 between 2020 and 2021 and found out that the death risk has increased by 2.4 times compared to those who got infected with the COVID-19 alone.
Free flu vaccination starts next Wednesday in Korea for those with a high risk of infection. Children aged between six months and 13 years and those who never got a flu jab before may get the free vaccination from that day. Vaccination for babies, infants, school children of all ages, and pregnant women starts on Oct. 5 and for the elderly from Oct. 12. Those who wish to get vaccinated may get the shots for both the flu and the COVID-19 on the same day.