Winter Flu: Jonathan Van-Tam Warns Of Bumpy Few Months Ahead

"For Christmas and the winter period, we can expect respiratory viruses to be around," the professor said.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam
Downing Street

Jonathan Van-Tam today warned that he was “particularly concerned” that flu will come back and add to our problems this winter.

England’s deputy chief medical officer made the comments as the UK’s vaccine advisors said all over 40s should be offered a third dose of a Covid vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation also said 16 and 17 year olds, who were initially offered only a single dose, should now get their second.

Professor Van-Tam told a Downing Street press conference that everyone had a role to play in helping the UK have “as safe and disruption-free a winter as possible”.

He told the briefing: “People keep asking me about Christmas. I think for Christmas and the winter period, we can expect respiratory viruses to be around and we are particularly concerned that flu will come back and add to our problems, and it could be quite a bumpy few months ahead.

“But everyone has a key role to play in achieving as safe and disruption-free a winter as possible.

“Wear face coverings in crowded places if it is practical to do so, increase indoor ventilation whenever you can, make sure you are vaccinated and, like any medicine, make sure you finish the course.

“And when you are called for your booster please come forwards at pace so that we as a whole UK can get on and finish this job.”

It comes as the prime minister said that those ending up in intensive care with coronavirus were “the unvaccinated” and urged the public to take up the booster.

On a visit to a medical centre in east London, Boris Johnson said: “When you look at what’s happening in the pandemic at the moment, just hearing in Newham sadly there are people in ITU, in intensive care, who are suffering badly from Covid, but they’re all the unvaccinated.

“If you can get your booster then your immunity goes right back up to 95 per cent. So far we’ve got 75 per cent of everybody over 70 getting a booster, there’s a huge number of people, but it’s that further 25 per cent that will make all the difference to winter, to Christmas, to our plans going forward, because it’s that extra level of protection that we really need.”

Meanwhile, Conservative Party co-chair Oliver Dowden promised that a “decent Christmas” was within touching distance as long as the public take precautions against covid.

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