The expert’s advice comes as the latest government data reported 12,187 new cases in England in the seven days leading up to September 23.
Dr Chris Papadopoulos, Principal Lecturer in Public Health at the University of Bedfordshire, said: “Given that the NHS is already stretched thin, the Government needs to focus on prevention and preparedness.
“This includes rolling out boosters widely but prioritising the most vulnerable, offering free lateral flow tests, and enhancing surveillance.”
Currently, the new government guidance states that only people at greatest risk of serious illness from Covid are eligible, including:
All adults aged 65 years and over
Residents in care homes for older adults
People aged six months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
Frontline health and social care workers.
People aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
People aged 16 to 64 years who are carers and staff working in care homes for older adults.
However, the professor thinks the UK could benefit from a more “proactive” plan similar to the US.
The United States is offering top-up jabs to everyone aged six months and older.
Dr Papadopoulos said: “[The UK’s] approach prioritises resource allocation and efficiency, while the US plan is more proactive, comprehensive and is more likely to be effective overall.
“In my view, the US is acting more proactively in key areas, making their plan more comprehensive and inclusive.
“The UK could benefit from adopting some of these broader measures to ensure a more robust, proactive response to the ongoing pandemic.
“Being more proactive is among the key lessons we’ve learned the hard way throughout the Covid pandemic.”
The Covid booster jab programme had been already brought forward four weeks early amid growing concerns over the new variants.
The spokesperson added: “We have accelerated the autumn flu and Covid vaccine programmes to ensure greater protection, support those at greatest risk of severe illness and reduce the potential impact on the NHS.
“Those most at risk from winter illness – including people in care homes for older people, the clinically vulnerable, those aged 65 and over, health and social care staff, and carers – can access a Covid vaccine, in line with the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.”
Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk
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