Tens of millions of over-50s will be capable of guide their autumn Covid booster and flu jabs from tomorrow.
Telephone and on-line bookings for the most recent coronavirus vaccine will open to round 12million folks aged between 50 and 64.
And for the primary time, these eligible for a flu jab will be capable of guide an appointment on-line below a pilot scheme with greater than 200 websites throughout the nation.
Well being officers are fearful in regards to the potential for a ‘twindemic’ this winter with excessive ranges of flu anticipated to flow into alongside Covid.
Flu jabs will also be booked at hundreds of group pharmacies and GP surgical procedures throughout England.
Telephone and on-line bookings for the most recent Covid jab will open to round 12million folks aged between 50 and 64
In last steerage revealed as we speak, the JCVI set out that the over-50s, residents and workers at care properties for older adults and frontline well being and social care employees could be supplied a Covid autumn booster. On high of those teams, 5 to 49-year-olds who’re in a scientific threat group, reside with an immunosuppressed particular person or are carers may also be eligible
Some 2million Covid jabs have been delivered final week, taking the entire protected to 7million thus far this winter.
NHS chief government Amanda Pritchard, mentioned: ‘Because of the unbelievable work of our frontline workers throughout the nation, our Covid autumn vaccination programme continues to go from power to power as we open up eligibility to round 12 million extra folks from tomorrow.
‘The rollout is off to a flying begin — we now have invited twice as many individuals as we did final autumn and we now have jabbed twice as many individuals as we did final autumn.
‘As we method what could possibly be a particularly difficult winter for the NHS, it’s critical to get your safety in opposition to each Covid and flu so please come ahead and guide in when you possibly can.’
About 33million persons are eligible for a free flu vaccine this 12 months, together with all primary-age and a few secondary-age kids, who will probably be supplied a nasal spray.
Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) statisticians estimate round 1.1million folks have been contaminated with the virus on any given day within the week as much as September 24. The determine was up 29 per cent on the 857,400 thought to have the virus every day within the week earlier than
Whereas websites are co-administering the flu and Covid vaccines the place doable, folks could also be required to guide two separate appointments for the completely different vaccines.
NHS director for vaccinations and screening Steve Russell mentioned: ‘Greater than seven million autumn Covid boosters have been administered thus far due to the arduous work of NHS workers and volunteers.
‘Whereas this can be a good begin, our work is just not finished as greater than 12million folks are actually being invited to take up the supply and guide an appointment as quickly as doable.
‘Vaccinations are our strongest weapon in opposition to these viruses and NHS workers are as soon as once more doing all they will to guard the general public, together with via a brand new trial that can enable folks to guide their flu jab via the Nationwide Reserving Service.
‘In case you are between 50 and 64 then please don’t hesitate to go online and guide your self an appointment, it’s one of the simplest ways to guard your self from severe sickness this winter.’
Minister Dr Caroline Johnson mentioned: ‘It’s actually encouraging that hundreds of thousands of individuals have already come ahead for his or her flu and Covid booster vaccines, growing their immunity forward of winter when viruses flow into extra simply.
‘These eligible can now simply guide a free flu and autumn booster vaccine on-line via the Nationwide Reserving Service. Please come ahead to offer your self and your family members very important safety over the approaching months.’
Chief medical advisor on the UK well being safety company Dr Susan Hopkins, mentioned: ‘The double risk of extensively circulating flu and Covid this 12 months is an actual concern, so it is essential that you just take up the free flu vaccine as quickly as doable in case you are supplied it. It’s going to assist shield you from extreme flu this winter, and even save your life.
‘All these over 50 are actually eligible for the jab, lots of which could have low pure immunity on account of Covid-19 restrictions during the last two years.’
Your information to the flu as ‘twindemic’ risk lurks not far away: EVERYTHING you might want to learn about influenza… from what vaccines can be found to why specialists concern this winter will probably be worse than ever
Britain faces the specter of a ‘twindemic’ — the phrase coined for Covid placing similtaneously flu.
Warnings of a Covid resurgence will not have shocked anybody.
But it surely has been a number of years for the reason that nation was battered by influenza.
Consultants say the ensuing lack of immunity is why flu may trigger havoc this winter.
The UK Well being Safety Company has now urged these most in danger — together with over-65s, these with underlying situations and pregnant ladies — to return ahead for a vaccine.
MailOnline has set out all you might want to know in regards to the upcoming flu season:
The UK Well being Safety Company has now urged these most in danger — together with the over-65s, these with underlying situations and pregnant ladies — to return ahead for a vaccine. Pictured: a girl getting a flu jab in West London on September 7
Will flu REALLY be additional dangerous this 12 months?
Flu’s unfold has been drastically thwarted during the last two winters, largely on account of restrictions introduced in to manage the unfold of Covid.
Do business from home guidelines and limits on social mixing stopped flu and different seasonal respiratory viruses from taking off as they normally would.
Suppressing the annual cycle has left Britons with much less immunity in opposition to the virus, scientists say.
And the vast majority of younger kids — who, not like for Covid, are one of many threat teams for influenza — have by no means encountered it of their lifetime.
Well being chiefs says this leaves the nation vulnerable to extra extreme sickness than ordinary.
Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist who sits on the SAGE’s New and Rising Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), advised MailOnline: ‘We will not predict precisely [what will happen], however most flu specialists predict it to be a nasty winter season.’
Is not flu only a gentle virus?
Though normally gentle and used as a benchmark to place the impression of Covid into perspective, flu nonetheless may be nasty.
Victims are sometimes bed-bound for a number of days with signs together with a excessive temperature, physique aches, a cough, sore throat and exhaustion.
Most individuals get better on their very own.
However in extreme circumstances, folks — particularly the aged and people with underlying situations — may be hospitalised and die.
Between 5 and 20 per cent of persons are considered struck by flu every season, though simply three to 11 per cent of those circumstances are symptomatic.
However the virus nonetheless poses a risk to some, with well being chiefs anticipating the virus to set off a surge in hospital admissions.
This may pile extra strain on the already stretched NHS — which is battling workers shortages, a bed-blocking disaster, document poor efficiency in emergency providers and a hospital remedy ready checklist of practically 7million.
Between 10,000-20,000 folks die from flu every winter, Authorities information counsel. However officers are fearful this 12 months may high that quantity.
Surveillance information exhibits that the H3N2 flu pressure dominant worldwide, that means it’s anticipated to take off within the UK. It’s identified to trigger extra extreme sickness than different variants.
On high of that, being contaminated with each Covid and flu concurrently will increase the chance of extreme sickness, hospitalisation and loss of life.
Will the flu season last more?
Consultants additionally concern the flu season might last more and have a number of spikes.
It normally runs from October to March and peaks as soon as.
Dr John McCauley, director of the Worldwide Influenza Centre on the Francis Crick Institute in London, advised MailOnline that whereas flu was largely suppressed final 12 months, the season went on for ‘for much longer than ordinary’ and triggered two peaks.
He mentioned: ‘The season didn’t end till about mid-Could, quite than late March or early April.
‘It could be that this implies we set off at the beginning of the subsequent season at the next baseline and the season could be early.’
And alerts from the southern hemisphere — which has already battled via winter — additionally counsel the flu season will probably be extended and hit extra folks.
Australia confirmed six-times extra flu circumstances than regular at its peak in June. The spike noticed some scientists name for a return of Covid-like curbs.
Professor Gary McLean, an immunologist from London Metropolitan College, advised MailOnline: ‘All the symptoms are suggesting that this 12 months could possibly be an early and extra extreme flu season.
‘That’s based mostly on what occurred within the southern hemisphere international locations — corresponding to Australia — throughout their simply accomplished flu season.’
Do not we now have some immunity?
Though the vast majority of Britons have good ranges of immunity in opposition to turning into severely unwell with Covid, influenza is a totally completely different virus.
It has its personal strains and variants, together with H3N2.
Covid vaccination charges are very excessive, with seven in 10 Britons being tripled-jabbed.
Against this, as few as 38 per cent of at-risk teams had a flu jab final 12 months and circumstances, hospitalisations and deaths have been properly beneath common.
Professor Openshaw mentioned: ‘Most individuals haven’t met flu for over two years and the degrees of normal immunity have declined.
‘That is particularly necessary in these almost definitely to get extreme illness, which is why the UKHSA and NHS are extending the vary of the vaccination programme this 12 months.’
The graph exhibits the variety of GP consultations when the affected person complains of an influenza-like sickness. It exhibits that charges have been dramatically decrease within the years for the reason that pandemic struck
The graph exhibits the variety of lab-confirmed flu circumstances in Australia. The nation confirmed six-times extra flu circumstances than regular at its peak in June. The spike noticed some scientists name for a return of Covid-like curbs
Why does it matter that Australia had a nasty winter?
Australia’s expertise with the flu acts as a canary in a coalmine for the UK.
The nation experiences winter, and subsequently its annual flu season, whereas Britain is having fun with its summer time.
The dominant flu pressure, in addition to the severity and period of the wave in Australia, subsequently, can act as a mannequin for what may occur within the UK.
Professor Openshaw mentioned: ‘Usually, what occurs within the southern hemisphere is an effective predictor of what is about to occur within the northern hemisphere.’
Dr Clarke mentioned taking a look at flu in Australia is ‘normally, however not all the time’, a great indicator of what’s to return because the virus tends emigrate north because the seasons change.
He mentioned: ‘This depends on educated guess work, and generally issues do go based on expectation.’
Dr McCauley mentioned: ‘Australia’s previous season was early, with a lot of detections.’
Nevertheless, he famous that the rise in confirmed circumstances ‘could be due to elevated testing on account of surveillance for Covid’.
Dr McCauley added: ‘The outline of the season in Australia that I’ve been advised was that it was “reasonable”.
‘It’s troublesome to quantify when you could have flu and Covid round on the similar time.’
Who can get a flu vaccine?
Round 33million Britons can get the flu jab without spending a dime.
These eligible embrace all over-50s, these in scientific threat teams, pregnant ladies and care residence residents.
Shut contacts of the immunocompromised and frontline well being and social care employees are additionally being invited for the vaccine.
Eligible Britons are anticipated to be supplied each jabs on the similar appointment — with an injection in every arm — the place doable, as was finished final 12 months.
And all main college and a few secondary college kids are eligible for the flu vaccine this 12 months, which is given as a nasal spray.
Mother and father have additionally been urged to usher in kids who have been two or three-years-old on August 31 for a nasal spray vaccine. In contrast to earlier winters, this group is being requested to get the vaccine too.
Well being chiefs are most involved about this youngest cohort, because the overwhelming majority have by no means been contaminated with flu of their lifetime and the age group drove the flu wave in Australia.
When are vaccines being dished out and the place can I get one?
Flu vaccines are already being dished out to eligible folks.
Well being chiefs are encouraging these teams to return ahead for a jab this autumn earlier than the virus begins circulating to get the perfect safety in opposition to it.
Nevertheless, these aged 50 to 64 are being requested to attend till mid-October earlier than reserving their appointment, as they’re thought of the much less in danger than different eligible teams.
It takes 10 to 14 days after receiving the jab for the physique to develop a sturdy immune response to the virus.
GP surgical procedures and excessive avenue pharmacies are dispensing the vaccine on the NHS.
Eligible children will probably be supplied the vaccine at college, so need not contact their GP or pharmacy.
Britons might obtain an invite for the vaccine however should not have to attend for this earlier than they guide an appointment.
GP surgical procedures and pharmacies get provides of the vaccine in batches all through the flu season.
So those that wrestle to get an appointment immediately, are inspired to guide one when extra vaccines turn into obtainable.
What if I am not eligible for a flu vaccine?
Those that do not fall into the classes listed for a free flu vaccine can nonetheless get one from a pharmacy, though they must pay for it.
That is compared to the Covid booster jab, which is barely obtainable to eligible teams and can’t be secured privately.
Boots kicked off its winter flu jab roll-out final month.
The pharmacy plans to dish out 2million jabs throughout nearly 2,000 shops.
Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots, mentioned: ‘A flu vaccination doesn’t supply safety from Covid and vice versa.
‘In case you are eligible for each, the flu jab and Covid booster may be administered collectively throughout the identical appointment in Boots shops the place we provide each vaccines, topic to availability.’
Six completely different vaccines are getting used within the flu vaccine rollout. Quadrivalent Infuenza Vaccine, made by French pharmaceutical firm Sanof Pasteur, is authorised for everybody over six-months-old. Supemtek, made by the identical firm, is on supply to all over-18s. FluenzTetra, from Covid vaccine maker AstraZeneca, is offered to these aged two to 18 and Infuvac sub-unit Tetra, made by US-based Viatris, is being supplied to these aged over six months. Two of Australian flu vaccine maker Seqirus’ vaccines are getting used — it is Cell-based Quadrivalent Infuenza Vaccine for over-twos and its Adjuvanted Quadrivalent Infuenza Vaccine for over-65s
Do the vaccines work?
The flu season is unpredictable.
However well being chiefs examine the circulating strains worldwide, particularly within the southern hemisphere which experiences winter earlier than the UK.
Scientists decide which variant of the flu is prone to trigger sickness and take off and make vaccines to match them as intently as doable.
Quadrivalent jabs are being dished out to guard in opposition to 4 strains, which this 12 months embrace influenza A subtypes H1N1(pdm09) and H3N2 and each B lineages.
Even when the vaccine does not completely match the pressure that ultimately takes maintain, they nonetheless present some safety in opposition to it.
Main mismatches do not occur usually. But the jabs have been simply 10 per cent in opposition to extreme sickness in some years, research have proven.
Final 12 months’s jabs do not shield in opposition to the flu now circulating as a result of the virus mutates so rapidly.
Professor Openshaw mentioned: ‘[The vaccines] are very efficient on the whole, however not excellent.
‘Generally the matching of the vaccine with the circulating pressure is just not excellent, and vaccines are much less efficient in folks with weak immune responses.’
Dr McCauley mentioned the vaccine being supplied to Britons this 12 months is an effective match with the circulating H3N2 flu pressure.
‘However we can’t know if one thing new will emerge over the subsequent couple of months,’ he famous.
What vaccines are getting used?
Six completely different vaccines are getting used within the flu vaccine rollout.
Quadrivalent Infuenza Vaccine, made by French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur, is authorised for everybody over six-months-old.
Supemtek, made by the identical firm, is on supply to all over-18s.
FluenzTetra, from Covid vaccine maker AstraZeneca, is offered to these aged two to 18 and Infuvac sub-unit Tetra, made by US-based Viatris, is being supplied to these aged over six months.
Two of Australian flu vaccine maker Seqirus’ vaccines are getting used — it is Cell-based Quadrivalent Infuenza Vaccine for over-twos and its Adjuvanted Quadrivalent Infuenza Vaccine for over-65s.
In some circumstances folks might be able to determine which vaccine they get.
For instance, kids who flip down AstraZeneca’s vaccine as a result of it accommodates porcine gelatine — a substance derived from animals that’s used as a stabiliser in some vaccines — will probably be supplied one of many Seqirus vaccines.
Nevertheless, scientists say AstraZeneca’s choice is more practical.