How effective is the flu jab? If the annual flu shot is 100% effective - and how it compares to the Oxford vaccine

Dr Hilary Jones told GMB viewers that the Oxford vaccine flu jab is ‘on par’ with the flu jab

A leading scientific expert has compared the effectiveness of Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine to that of the annual flu jab.

Dr Hilary Jones told TV viewers of Good Morning Britain the development of the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine was “good news”.

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Results from a large trial suggests the Oxford vaccine delivers a 70% protection against Covid - in line with the effectiveness of the UK’s flu jab.

Oxford's Covid vaccine is on a par with the effectiveness of the flu jab, says Dr Hilary Jones. (Pic: Getty)Oxford's Covid vaccine is on a par with the effectiveness of the flu jab, says Dr Hilary Jones. (Pic: Getty)
Oxford's Covid vaccine is on a par with the effectiveness of the flu jab, says Dr Hilary Jones. (Pic: Getty)

That number could increase by tweaking the dosage an individual receives, with figures showing an efficacy as high as 90%.

Unlike these two vaccines, the Oxford jab doesn’t need to be stored at -70C, meaning it presents fewer logistical problems when it comes to mass usage.

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What did Dr Hilary say on GMB?

“We've got a realistic data on the efficacy here, 70 percent,” he told viewers.

“Interestingly that's on par with the flu vaccine, about 60 to 70 percent efficacy of flu vaccines.

“So that's good news, it means we are still going to protect a large number of people in the population.

“It's a vaccine that doesn't need to be stored at -70C which creates huge logistical problems, so we might be able to get this out sooner.

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“And also, we need to bear in mind that the numbers of people in the trials have been so small relatively speaking that the efficacy might be revised.”

Should I get the flu jab?

Yes - if advised to do so.

The flu vaccine is given to people who are typically aged 50 and over, or pregnant, or frontline NHS, or care workers, or living in residential care.

The NHS flu vaccine is available to everyone aged 50 and over from 1 December.

What are the benefits of getting the flu jab?

The NHS website outlines three benefits of receiving a flu jab during the coronavirus pandemic.

These are as follows:

If you're at higher risk from coronavirus, you're also more at risk of problems from fluIf you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously illIt'll help to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who may be dealing with coronavirus.

How effective is the flu jab?

What goes into the flu jab changes each year because the virus mutates over time.

Because of this it’s hard to put an exact figure on the effectiveness of the flu jab like we’ve seen around the Covid vaccine in recent weeks.

The BBC’s Reality Check states the flu jab tends to protect between 30-60% of vaccinated people - and reduces the symptoms in others.