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Around 700,000 Brits will receive free Covid-19 Booster Shots this week




Around 700,000 Brits will receive free Covid-19 Booster Shots this week

Around 700,000 people in England will receive a free Covid-19 vaccine this week as the country’s spring campaign starts.

From Monday, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems can receive a free injection to reduce the impact of the disease.

Some 48,400 shots have already been given to adults in care homes, officials say, while vaccine teams visited about 3,400 facilities on Thursday, April 18.

Vaccines significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from Covid-19. This is especially important for those most at risk of complications.

Subsequent doses help maintain existing protection against the disease, which may decrease over time.

Steve Russell, who heads up vaccines and inoculations at the country’s public health system, the National Health Service, said last year’s data showed that “those who got the spring jab were up to 50% less likely to be sick for three to four weeks.” be hospitalized for months. then.”

Officials last week invited eligible members of the public to book their shots. These people are also invited to make a reservation by telephone, letter or e-mail.

Private vaccines are now also available in Britain for the first time.

Who is eligible and why?

Scientists from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunization are advising health leaders on the appropriateness of vaccines. They compare evidence about the benefits and risks of an injection with the dangers of the disease it targets to arrive at their recommendations.

In February, JCVI scientists advised to give boosters to people aged 75 or older, people living in care homes for the elderly and people aged six months or older who are immunosuppressed.

This also applies to people whose immune systems are weakened by treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, certain immunosuppressive medications or organ transplants. It also includes those who have certain health conditions that affect the immune system, including multiple myeloma, HIV infection and certain genetic conditions.

A full list of relevant immunosuppressive conditions can be found on page 24 of the British “Green Book” on Covid-19.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid-19 immunization at the JCVI, said at the time that the “spring program will continue to focus on those most at risk of becoming seriously ill, who will benefit most from further vaccine doses.

“It is important that everyone who is eligible takes up the offer this spring,” he said in a statement. “Current vaccines provide good protection against serious illness, hospitalizations and can protect the most vulnerable from death.”

Mary Ramsay, who leads public health programs at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said “continued surveillance” shows Covid-19 is still “causing serious illness, especially in older age groups and in people with suppressed immune systems.”

But data “clearly” shows that booster campaigns in the spring and fall “are effective in helping protect those most at risk – halving the chance of hospitalization from the virus,” she added.

Healthcare system under pressure

Minimizing the impact of Covid-19 on England’s public health system remains important as hospitals struggle to keep up with demand for services.

The country has been grappling with an emergency care crisis for at least two years, with a lack of available hospital beds leading to long waiting times for admission, overcrowding in emergency departments and ambulance delays.

There are many factors behind the crisis, including a lack of social care capacity for people who are medically fit to leave hospital but who need additional support in the community to be discharged safely.

It’s likely that the long wait for elective procedures, exacerbated by a pandemic that saw large numbers of canceled surgeries, has made people sicker than they would have been if they had been caught sooner.

An aging population and rising inequality have also contributed to increased demand for services.

The real impact of Covid-19 on the country is still not clear by researchers. Last month, statisticians revealed that the disease would be a major factor in reducing healthy life expectancy in Britain.