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08th Sep 2021

Gary Lineker bodies Matt Le Tissier over ‘flu vaccine’ Covid claim

Steve Hopkins

Too easy!

Gary Lineker has totally owned Matt Le Tissier after the former footballer-turned TV pundit gave him a free-kick over Covid.

Writing on Twitter on Tuesday, Le Tissier, who spent his entire professional career with Southhampton, asked: “Why didn’t we ever try this hard to “defeat” flu? It has a similar fatality rate to “covid” and actually affects younger people more? Answers on a postcard.”

The answer was too easy.

The seasonal influenza vaccination programme was first introduced in England in the late 1960s to protect those in clinical risk groups and is available every year on the NHS to protect people at risk of getting seriously ill from the flu. It is free to people who are aged 50 and over, have certain health conditions, or if you’re pregnant or are a frontline healthcare worker.

While the flu has never been defeated, authorities in most countries – bar New Zealand and Australia – have long since moved away from trying to control or defeat Covid through a zero-cases or herd-immunity strategy. Instead, they have sought out ways to try and live with it.

And while lockdown might be over, a number of new cases have raised across the UK this summer despite 65.3% of the population being fully vaccinated ( 72.5% have received at least one dose). On Wednesday, 38,975 new infections were recorded and 191 deaths.

According to statistics from ONS from 2020, comparing deaths from Covid to those from influenza and pneumonia, Covid deaths – between January and August of that year – far outstripped those from the flu.

There were 48,168 deaths due to Covid during the period, compared to 13,619 due to pneumonia and 394 deaths due to influenza (14,013 collectively).

While pneumonia and influenza, the ONS noted, was mentioned on more death certificates than coronavirus, Covid was the “underlying cause of death in over three times as many deaths between January and August 2020”.

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