Boris Johnson will outline plans for the Covid booster jab scheme this afternoon, with the British government's measures for managing the Covid-19 pandemic over the winter months set to be shared with the public.
Ahead of the official briefing, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that the government are laying down plans for the rollout of Covid booster jabs to begin next week.
Javid has explained that the government will be accepting the booster jab advice from experts in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, with hopes that those eligible for the booster jab will be offered it in a matter of days.
"I can confirm I've accepted the JCVI's advice and the NHS is preparing to offer booster doses from next week," he told the Commons today.
Who will get the Covid booster jab in the UK?
The Covid booster jab is set to be offered to people aged 50 and over, the clinically vulnerable, those working in frontline health roles and and anyone working with vulnerable people in places like care homes.
It's expected that the booster jab will start being rolled out from next week as part of the government's measures to prevent a surge in cases and deaths as the UK heads into winter.
When can I book my Covid booster jab?
The government has confirmed that you will be contacted by the NHS when you are able to able to book your booster jab, with the rollout set to begin as early as next week.
However, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that you must leave six months between having your second Covid vaccine and having your booster.
The booster jab scheme will be supported by an increased flu vaccine campaign in a vital bid to keep the NHS afloat this winter, amid fears that the nation's immune systems will have been weakened by the pandemic's lockdowns.
The Health Secretary explained that the flu risk is "really significant" this year, adding, "There wasn’t much flu last year.
"There is a lot less natural immunity around in our communities and the flu vaccine itself, the flu vaccine not just in the UK but being deployed across Europe, has less efficacy than normal but it is still effective. It is still a very worthwhile vaccine and that’s why we will be trying to maximise uptake.
"The biggest rollout programme and communication programme this country has ever seen for the flu vaccine."
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Will diabetics get the Covid booster jab?
If you are diabetic and were advised to shield during the coronavirus lockdowns, you will likely be invited to come forward for your Covid booster jab in the coming weeks.
Those who are clinically vulnerable aged 16-49 and those who are aged 50 and over are predicted to be offered the booster jab from as early as next week.
Which Covid vaccine is the booster jab?
The Pfizer vaccine will mainly be used in the UK booster jab rollout, with the Moderna being used in a half dose as an alternative.
The Pfizer or Moderna will be used even if you received the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine for your first two doses.
Those who are unable to have the Pfizer or Moderna jabs due to allergies will still be able to be given the Astra Zeneca vaccine as a booster jab.
What is the Covid winter plan?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to outline the winter measures for England this winter, in a bid to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed with a surge in Covid cases and deaths.
Speaking in the Commons today, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said, "Any responsible government must prepare for all eventualities and while these measures are not something that anyone wants, we must prepare just in case."
The winter Covid plan will be made up of a 'Plan A' and a 'Plan B', with the first stage being implemented as we enter the colder months.
The booster jab rollout will play a key part in Plan A, with the scheme set to begin next week and the flu jab rollout expected to run alongside it.
The process of testing, tracing and self-isolating will stay in place, with PCR testing to remain free of charge.
People will also be encouraged to take caution, meet outdoors and wear face masks however this won't be enforced in Plan A.
What is Plan B of the winter Covid measures?
If cases begin to surge and the NHS shows signs of becoming overwhelmed, it's likely England will have to move to Plan B of the winter Covid measures.
Plan B is set to include the re-introduction of mandatory mask wearing in public places. Boris Johnson will also likely advise those who can work from home, to do so once again.
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