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Covid and flu could hopefully be ‘single jab’ by next winter, says Stevens

flu delivery

NHS England’s chief executive has said he hopes that Covid and flu vaccines could be ‘combined into a single vaccine’ by next winter.

Sir Simon Stevens made the comments at a parliamentary hearing on the vaccine programme today in response to a question on what ‘opportunistic interventions’ can be done while patients are attending for vaccinations.

Conservative MP for Bosworth Dr Luke Evans, who is also a GP, asked Sir Simon ‘what plans are set in place to get opportunistic public health interventions like stopping smoking [and] obesity into those big centres’.

This could be ‘the one time’ the NHS is able to reach people it ‘has never been able to have contact with’, Dr Evans said.

Speaking as a witness, Sir Simon said he would put the suggestion to his colleagues but that ‘GPs locally are already taking this opportunity’.

He added: ‘Frankly, down the line, I would hope that not only other opportunistic contact [takes place] as you described, but it would be great if Covid vaccine and flu vaccine ends up being combined into a single vaccine, which we might see for if not this winter then future winters as well.’

Previously, PHE said while coronavirus jabs should ‘ideally’ be separated from other non-Covid vaccinations by seven days, vaccination can still be ‘considered’ within a shorter time period.

It comes as under-65s with health conditions were last month urged to present for flu jabs as half remained unvaccinated.


Darren Tymens 27 January, 2021 9:08 am

Covid vaccination clinics are delivering very rapid throughput out of necessity. Adding in opportunistic health promotion – other than sticking some leaflets out for patients to read in the 15-minute waiting room afterwards – would significantly slow them down and require extra staff we generally don’t have. Unless the government agree that we can markedly slow down delivery of the vaccine, it isn’t feasible and I’m surprised Dr Evans suggested it.
I’m also surprised that Simon Stevens started talking about single jabs: at the moment a 7 day gap between the vaccines is currently required, and we are having to order in our flu jabs imminently, nine months in advance as always. Perhaps he is not aware of the timelines involved in organising primary care (most NHS managers are largely ignorant of practice management, and someone should perhaps tell him) – but it is probably not wise to raise expectations you can’t hope to meet (I’m looking at you, Boris).

Darren Tymens 27 January, 2021 9:31 am

Correction: a chum has told me that in some circumstances JCVI have said the two can be given at the same time, but a delay is recommended. But it still hard to see how a double vaccine can be offered when we have already ordered next year’s flu vaccines.

Martin Thom 27 January, 2021 11:01 am

so what happens if you reacted badly to flu vaccine but want covid vaccine
funny how time intervals between doses and vaccines are altered willy-nilly yet if we prescribe outside guidance we are suspended or struck off!

David Church 27 January, 2021 8:18 pm

Why can we not have just a purified preparation of spike protein instead of having to have basically a non-reproducible, but infectious agent injected? Has anybody tried that? It appears to work well for Tetanus and Diphtheria!