Warning as Covid cases on the rise again – and millions have just days left to get last booster jabs
BRITS have been urged to grab the final chance to get a Covid booster amid warnings the virus is on the rise again.
Millions have been vaccinated this winter with the help of The Sun’s Do the Double campaign — but the rollout ends next Sunday on February 12.
NHS bosses have issued last orders for those who haven’t come forward, with nearly 400,000 appointments still available.
Covid hospitalisations are now increasing, with more than 700 patients admitted on January 29 compared to fewer than 500 a week earlier.
NHS vaccines director, Steve Russell, said: “If you are eligible for a booster but have yet to take up your latest dose, please do so.
“We know that a booster is the best way to maintain protection against serious illness from covid for yourself and your loved ones.”
Next Sunday will be the last day of this winter’s booster offer — and the last chance ever for under-50s.
More vulnerable groups are likely to get extra jabs in the spring and autumn.
Some 15,000 people have already booked a jab next week so far.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Our phenomenal Covid vaccination programme has saved lives, allowed us to live with Covid and remains our best defence against the virus.
“With just one week to go, I want to encourage anyone who hasn’t had their first booster or if you’re eligible, an autumn booster, to come forward before next Sunday.
“Our hardworking NHS staff and volunteers have done an incredible job getting jabs into arms, and they’re on hand to top up your immunity and keep you and your loved ones protected.”
The Sun’s Do the Double campaign, backed by ministers and health chiefs, has urged eligible readers to get flu and Covid vaccines this winter.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said the campaign has “encouraged thousands to come forward”.
Latest data show Covid infections fell 12 per cent to 799,200 in England in the week ending January 24.
But they are rising in 35 to 49-year-olds, who are still eligible for their final jabs.
Michelle Bowen, of the ONS, said: “We are seeing some differing trends when we look across age groups.
“We have seen increases in school age children and those aged 35-49 years in the latest week, with decreases only seen in over 50s.”
Some experts warn new variants nicknamed Kraken and Orthrus have started another wave.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “It’s concerning that the recent downward trend in Covid hospitalisations has started to show signs of a reverse this week.
“Two variants, CH.1.1 and XBB.1.5, have a growth advantage in the UK and we can expect further increases in transmission and hospitalisations in future weeks.”
Professor Christina Pagel, of University College London, said: “It seems like the next wave has started in England.
“Covid hospital admissions are definitely up — and across all regions.”
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