Covid will ‘continue to surprise us’, warns health official

by | Oct 1, 2023 | Health

Getty ImagesBy Laura FosterHealth and science reporterCovid will “continue to surprise us”, England’s deputy chief medical officer has warned ahead of another tricky winter for the NHS.Dr Thomas Waite says the disease does not yet behave in a seasonal way, making it less predictable than other winter illnesses.He encourages anyone eligible for the free flu and/or Covid vaccine to get the jabs and protect their health. Last year the flu vaccine stopped 25,000 people from being hospitalised.But scientists estimate that last winter in England, flu still caused more than 14 thousand excess deaths and Covid caused more than ten thousand.Who can get the Covid vaccine?The flu and Covid vaccination programmes had been due to start this month, but actually began in September because of concerns over the new Covid variant, BA.2.86.You can have a Covid vaccine if you are: 65 or overliving in a care homea health or social care workersomeone with a certain long-term health condition, or live with a person who has oneYou cannot buy any Covid vaccines privately in the UK.The flu jab is available free to some groups of adults – they include anyone who is pregnant, over 65, certain carers and anyone who has particular long-term health conditions.Children can get the vaccine as a nasal spray from the age of two, or from six months if they have a particular health condition.The UK Health Security Agency says 25,000 people avoided needing hospital treatment last year because they had their flu vaccine.Data from Australia shows that this year’s flu vaccine will offer good protection for people living in the UK.Who can get another Covid jab this autumn?What is the UK Covid inquiry and how long will it take?New Covid and flu dashboard launched for EnglandNHS England says this year’s vaccination programme is off to “a really good start”.Some 10% of those eligible for the Covid booster have had a jab already and 10% of those eligible for the flu one have had theirs.But Dr Waite wants to see more vaccine uptake, particularly among children, pregnant women and those whose health conditions put them more at risk.He says trying to say what will happen this winter is “crystal ball territory”.”Flu worries me. Australia saw a large wave last year, and another early wave this year,” he said.”I think it’s hard to say at this point exactly what Covid is going to do… but I don’t doubt that Covid in particular will continue to surprise us.”You can book your appointment for either vaccine in England via the NHS England website, using the NHS England app, by dialling 119 or responding to an invitation from your GP.Related TopicsCoronavirus vaccinesHealthVaccinationNHSFluCoronavirus …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This