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COVID and flu vaccines rolling out across England over ‘twindemic’ fears

Uganda to destroy millions of dollars of Covid jabs
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The rollout of Covid and influenza vaccines has commenced in England, prioritizing individuals in care homes and those who are unable to leave their homes. This initiative has been accelerated due to the identification of a new variant of the coronavirus in the UK, denoted as BA.2.86. Although not designated as a ‘variant of concern’, experts have noted its significant mutation count, prompting close monitoring by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Starting next week, the NHS will extend invitations for Covid and flu vaccinations to eligible adults in the general population, including those aged 65 and above, individuals in high-risk categories, and those with suppressed immune systems. They can schedule their vaccinations from September 18 through the NHS website, the NHS App, or by calling 119. Additionally, local NHS services and GP surgeries are reaching out to individuals to offer the vaccines.

Scotland has already initiated its vaccination programs, while Wales and England will commence simultaneously. Northern Ireland’s program is set to officially launch on September 18. To prevent a potential “twindemic” of flu and Covid, which would strain the healthcare system, NHS England strongly encourages individuals to receive both vaccinations.

Steve Russell, NHS director of vaccinations and screening, emphasized the effectiveness of previous vaccination programs in safeguarding high-risk populations. He urged eligible individuals to promptly come forward for this crucial protection, particularly in the colder months.

BA.2.86 cases have emerged without clear links in various regions, indicating its presence within the community. In a care home outbreak in Norfolk at the end of August, 33 out of 38 residents and 12 staff members tested positive for Covid-19, according to the UKHSA.

Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at the UKHSA, stressed that older individuals and those in clinical risk groups face the highest threat of severe illness from Covid-19. She emphasized that the vaccine remains the most effective defense against serious illness and hospitalization. Parents are encouraged by the UKHSA to complete consent forms for the nasal spray flu vaccine, which is administered at schools and GP surgeries. Children aged two to 17 will also be eligible for flu vaccinations starting next week.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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