The Government has published its autumn and winter COVID-19 plan to help mitigate the potential risks of rising infection and hospitalisation rates over the coming months.
Single vaccines will be offered to children aged 12-15 and booster jabs will be offered to about 30 million people, including the over-50s, younger adults with health conditions, and frontline health and social care workers.
Where infection rates remain stable, the Government’s ‘plan A’ also includes continuing the work of NHS Test and Trace and offering free PCR tests; encouraging free flu vaccine take-up (extended to over-50s and secondary school pupils); and reminding people to let in fresh air if meeting indoors and to wear face coverings in crowded settings.
If the NHS comes under more pressure this winter, ‘plan B’ could involve the mandating of face masks in some public places, testing and vaccine certification for certain events, and the issuing of guidance on working from home.
Cllr James Jamieson, LGA Chairman, said: “COVID-19 remains a serious public health threat and protecting our older and most vulnerable people is councils’ number one priority, especially as we head into what will be a challenging autumn and winter.
“This plan could help see us through this difficult period, with contingency measures in place to help prevent the NHS from coming under unsustainable pressure.
“It will be vital that directors of public health, working in councils, should also have all the support and tools they need to respond to any local outbreaks.”