The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is urging Londoners to get their flu jab and Covid-19 booster shot to protect themselves, their loved ones and the NHS this winter.
Sadiq, who was invited by his GP to receive his booster and flu jab at a pharmacy in Tooting today, is also urgently calling on the Government to step up efforts now to slow the spread of the virus. This includes making face coverings mandatory and enforceable by the police on all public transport, improving ventilation in schools and busy public indoor settings and increasing the support available to those who have to self-isolate.
His calls come as figures show cases and hospital admissions continue to rise in London with recorded infection rates over half-term higher than they were this time last year.1
More than 400 vaccination sites are currently open across London with NHS hospital hubs, GP practices, local pharmacies and midwifery services working across our city in the fight against the virus.
Those eligible for the free flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster jab are being urged to book their appointments as soon as possible in order to stay well this winter and avoid adding pressure to London’s A&Es and hospital beds. Parents of young Londoners aged 12-15-year-old are also being urged to book children in for their first dose of the vaccine which is now being offered out of school.
The Mayor’s call comes as health experts warn of a significant risk of flu surging this winter alongside rising COVID-19 cases with the UK Health Security Agency warning that those who catch flu and Covid at the same time this winter are twice as likely to die than those who only have COVID-19.2
Colder weather and fewer measures being in place to stop the virus spreading combined with increased social contact indoors after-dark this winter could mean thousands more Londoners need hospital treatment for COVID-19.
The Mayor is asking Londoners to help prevent the spread of the virus by wearing a face mask in crowded and enclosed areas, sticking to good habits like regularly washing hands and taking a PCR test if they show any symptoms of the virus.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I want to be very clear to all Londoners. This deadly virus has not gone away and this winter we’re facing both flu and Covid. The worst thing we can do is to lower our guard, be complacent and underestimate the risk these viruses pose to all of us.
“The situation with COVID-19 in the capital is so finely balanced that it needs all of us to act together to protect ourselves, our loved ones, the things we enjoy and our NHS this winter.
“That’s why I’m urging all eligible Londoners to have the booster vaccine and flu jab as soon as you are offered it, continue to wear a mask where you can and am calling on the government to put simple and effective steps, such as mandatory face coverings on public transport, in place to halt the spread of the virus now.”
Dr Yvonne Young, London Deputy Director for Health Protection at the UKHSA, said: “As London is fully open again this winter, it will be the first time that we’ll be managing flu and COVID-19 simultaneously.
“In order to protect ourselves as much as possible from this double threat, we encourage everyone who is eligible to get their free vaccines. If you’re eligible for your COVID-19 booster, do make that appointment as soon as possible. If you’ve not yet had both doses, or your first vaccine, book yourself in or find your nearest walk-in clinic. Also if you are the parent/guardian of a 12-15 year old who hasn’t yet had their first dose you can book them in for theirs too.
“We know both viruses pose very serious health risks, so it’s vital that we all do everything we can to minimise those risks and defend ourselves and those around us.”
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