All over-50s may get extra Covid jab this Autumn as Javid urges Brits who catch virus to ‘act like they have flu’
SCIENTISTS are working on plans to green light a second Covid booster jab for all over-50s this Autumn, Sajid Javid said today.
The Health Secretary said another vaccine rollout is being considered as he urged Brits to catch the virus to act like they have flu.
And he said that people who test positive should still self-isolate for at least four or five days before returning to work.
He said ministers are not worried about rising cases, which was “always going to be the case” as the country ended all restrictions.
Mr Javid also brushed aside warnings of growing hospitalisations and insisted the Government is worried the NHS will come under pressure.
The health secretary revealed that almost 60% of the 11,500 Covid patients aren’t in hospital because of the virus, but for other causes.
He insisted any decision on whether to roll out a fourth jab to over-50s will be taken by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
A booster rollout for the over-75s and clinically vulnerable people has opened as of today.
Mr Javid also defended the Government’s decision to phase out free lateral flow tests from the end of this month.
He said the move was part of plans to start living with the virus and Brits could be trusted to show “common sense” if they feel ill.
The health sec said: “We will focus our tests on of those that are most vulnerable or in vulnerable settings and that’s the right way forward.
“Post April 1 if people have Covid symptoms then they should just behave sensibly like you would expect someone to behave if they had flu symptoms.
“That is to socialise a bit less, stay indoors, and wait till you feel better.”
He added: “If I tested positive I wouldn’t go into work. We’re relying much more on people’s personal responsibility, their own common sense.
“As we learn to live with Covid as we’ve learned to live with other viruses like the flu, people should take a common sense approach.
“If you’re not feeling well, if you’ve got the symptoms of Covid, then it’s not a good idea to mix with other people.
“The right idea is to spend some time trying to stay away from others.”
Mr Javid said if he tested positive for Covid without displaying symptoms he would wait “four or five days” to return to work.
“I would hope that I wouldn’t be positive for after that point”, he added.
The five most common symptoms of Omicron are now very similar to those of the common cold, according to the ZOE Covid study.
They are a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and a sore throat.
Mr Javid said Britain’s rising Covid cases are being driven by a sub variant of Omicron which is even more infectious.
But the health secretary reassured people there is no evidence the virus is more severe or that it can evade the vaccines.
He added measures like local surge testing would only be brought back if a threatening new variant emerges.
The UK recorded 92,449 new infections yesterday, with cases rising sharply though still at half the January peak.
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