Lincolnshire health bosses begin winter Covid preparations
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The county continues to build vaccine immunity for vulnerable groups and local health bosses are waiting for guidance about the autumn booster shot programme.
During spring, 81,254 booster shots were given, equating to a 72.98 per cent uptake, according to the NHS Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board.
The vaccines were offered to people aged 75 years and older, residents in care homes for older people, and those aged five years and over with a weakened immune system.
Vaccinations are still available for certain individuals, including those newly diagnosed with immuno-suppressive disorders. More information can be found at lincolnshire.icb.nhs.uk
There have been national warnings about potential challenges with Covid-19 in the coming months.
The NHS plans to offer the seasonal vaccine to those at higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes in Autumn 2023.
An announcement from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is expected in the coming weeks.
Andy Fox, Lincolnshire Council assistant director of public health, said: “As we look ahead to autumn and winter, we expect to see an increase in the incidence of infections with respiratory viruses in Lincolnshire, including Covid-19 and flu.
“The best way we can be prepared is to ensure everyone eligible takes up the flu vaccine and the autumn Covid booster when it is available.”
A new Covid variant is spreading across the country this summer, the UK Health Security Agency has said, which already makes up one in seven new cases.
Scientifically known as EG.5.1, it is descended from the omicron variant and makes up to 15 per cent of new cases.
The arcturus XBB.1.16 variant, another descendant of omicron, is the most dominant, UKHSA figures show, making up 40 per cent of all cases.
However, UK scientists are also researching potential future viruses, known as “Disease X”, at Porton Down, Wiltshire Sky News has reported.
More than 200 scientists are identifying animal viruses which have the potential to infect humans and cause global outbreaks, although what form this future disease could take is unknown.
The UKHSA has said it is important to be proactive, highlighting efforts to develop vaccines and treatments in advance. It is hoped to ensure rapid response capabilities and reduce the risk of new diseases emerging.