The Covid Vaccination programme undertaken by the NHS has been a triumph and research is showing that the current vaccines are protecting the population from the virus, minimising hospital admissions and risks of developing long covid complications.
Trials are currently taking place to ascertain if vaccinating with different vaccines will give a better antibody response to the virus and also if this will improve the response to the various variants as they develop. The Cov-boost trial is looking at the use of a third vaccine of a different make to see if it will improve immunity. Results will be available in September.
The manufacturers Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca and Moderna are already accelerating the development of tweaked vaccines to ensure they will cover the new variants- Brazilian South African.
There is more research in progress looking at types of vaccine, DNA and Antigen based, to see if combining these vaccines in the future will improve the immune response.
Results from mixing Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines so far has shown some minor short lived side effects, such as headaches and fatigue, but no results are yet available on the immune response.
A Government funded study is looking at the co-administration of the Covid booster and Influenza vaccines. The two vaccines may be combined in a single injection, similar to the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella). None of the current flu vaccines are made in a similar way to the Covid vaccines, unlike the MMR where all three vaccines are made by the same process. The concern is that the 2 vaccines, when combined, will not interact and can be kept in the same way, i.e. same temperature. There are concerns also that the Flu vaccine could cancel out the effects of the Covid vaccine if co-administered.
There is no certainty that a Covid booster vaccine will be required this autumn. There may be a campaign for the elderly and extremely clinically vulnerable to have a booster this year but other cohorts may get their booster in 2022.
There is speculation that there may be a higher incidence of flu infections this winter and it is advisable for all patient groups recommended to get vaccinated. The current information from Public Health England lacks clarity on which cohorts will be eligible for flu vaccination. This will depend on the impact of the Covid 19 infection rates in the population.
We are looking to provide a private flu vaccination service to our clients and will be happy to discuss this with you.