The government has launched a media blitz to encourage people to take up Covid booster jabs.
The nationwide advertising campaign, launched after Covid cases hit a three-month high on Thursday, will run on outdoor billboards, broadcast and community radio and TV to support the national vaccine drive.
An advert playing on TVs from Friday evening will urge people to “get vaccinated, get boosted, get protected” and will feature a nurse explaining the benefits of the flu jab and the coronavirus booster vaccine.
Targeted digital adverts will also feature on social media platforms, digital radio and video websites such as YouTube. They each stress the importance of being protected during winter, which sees an increased transmission of viruses.
The country’s leading pharmacies, including LloydsPharmacy and Asda, have also backed the call for people to get vaccinated.
It comes as a record number of people booked their booster vaccines on Wednesday after health secretary Sajid Javid warned that if people don’t play their part at limiting the spread of the virus through masks and booster jabs, restrictions in the coming months will be more likely.
More than 234,000 came forward for their booster jabs on Wednesday and four million people have had their third dose in the last month.
Speaking as the new media campaign launched, Mr Javid said: “Our vaccine programme is building a wall of defence across the country and our booster rollout is now well under way with more than four million jabs in arms.
“As we go into winter, it is vital that eligible people get their booster jab and their flu jab to protect themselves, their loved ones and the NHS.
“This is a national mission and I’m hugely grateful to the public, volunteers and NHS workers rolling out jabs.
“It is fantastic to see some of our biggest high street pharmacies give their backing to the winter vaccination programme.”
It comes after Boris Johnson urged the over 50s to come forward and get their booster jabs as soon as they become eligible, saying: “You get the call, get the jab.
“We have done about four million booster jabs already but as soon as you become eligible, as soon as you get that call, everybody over 50 should be getting that jab.
“Ninety percent of the adult population has antibodies right now but we must fortify ourselves further.
“The numbers (of infections) are high, we can see what’s happening, we can see the increase, now is the time to get those booster jabs.”
Experts have also warned that this year there could be a significant flu surge coinciding with continuing or rising Covid cases as the colder weather traditionally leads to increased transmission of viruses. Immunity to flu is also expected to be lower due to lower levels of the virus in circulation last winter.
Victoria Steele, Superintendent Pharmacist at LloydsPharmacy, said: “It is very likely that we’ll see much greater levels of transmission of the influenza virus this winter. Immunity and protection are increasingly at the forefront of our minds, and we have seen this through the high volume of flu bookings at LloydsPharmacy this year and through increased sales of winter medicines, as many start to take precautions as we head into cold and flu season.
“It is important that we all do what we can to protect ourselves and loved ones this winter by getting both the flu vaccine and the COVID booster vaccine, for those who are eligible. I’d encourage people to book as soon as possible, as it does take time for the body to develop its antibodies after any vaccine. You can book your appointment for a flu vaccine online or by visiting your local LloydsPharmacy.”
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